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Time-lapse construction image capturing vital roadworks at Coast Road Junction.

News Road Construction through Time-Lapse

16 September 2020 Kate

With Boris Johnsons New Deal pledge to ‘build, build, build’, investment in infrastructure and road building is set to increase. As approval for transport system projects across the UK is confirmed, now seems a good time to focus on how time-lapse photography can effectively document road construction.  

Road construction through time-lapse. Tipner Park and Ride construction
Tipner Park and Ride construction

With the Prime Minister promising: “we will build, build, build. Build back better, build back greener, build back faster and to do that at the pace that this moment requires”, not only is construction, in general, a priority for the government but so is road building and transport network developments. The government is aiming to ‘level up’ across the country so that all regions have improved and upgraded local highways, bridges, and infrastructure that allow people to travel with ease.

What are the New Deal road improvements?

As the Prime Minister commits to new infrastructure plans, £100m has been allocated this year for 29 projects in the road network. The aim is to improve the quality of local highway key routes by updating declining roads, bridge repairs, and increasing flood measures. Many of the country’s most important A-roads are to be improved, helping local highway authorities maintain road safety, as well as aid local economies, and connect communities.

Some significant local road projects include:

  • £4.5m to increase the quality of A15 in the Humber region
  • £4.9m to repair two key bridges in Sandwell
  • £5m to improve the key route network in Liverpool
  • £5m for upgrade work and maintenance on Swanswell Viaduct on the Ring Road, Coventry
  • £5m for resurfacing and road maintenance on Tadcaster Road, York

To show the government’s pledge to such projects, it has allocated over £7.1 billion to highway authorities in England outside London for local road maintenance.

How can time-lapse be used to inform the public?

Road building and infrastructure projects have a wide impact on the public, and it is important for the government and contractors to engage with the wider community. A visual reference is necessary as long-term (& short-term) roadworks can cause disruption and interfere with the daily lives of the public. Key developments in road construction can successfully be communicated through time-lapse. Photographic footage shows that progress is being made and how the improvements are required to update the road network. Day to day developments can even be monitored by the public by embedding a viewing portal onto the relevant website.

Government bodies such as Highways England regularly use time-lapse to capture their work improving roads and motorways. This allows the public to be engaged by tracking and publicising projects, such as the redevelopment of the M3 Black Dam roundabout in Basingstoke.

Time-lapse video of M3 Black Dam roundabout

For complex developments with different phases of work, time-lapse can isolate specific activities and showcase the completion of each phase. Alternatively, a whole road project can be visually translated through one sequence to validate the efforts undertaken.

Time-lapse video of A2500 Lower Road changes

Complex manoeuvres can also be recorded by using a combination of stationary time-lapse camera systems and specialist methods of capture. The M56 Thorley Lane Bridge Replacement project required drone footage alongside traditional time-lapse, which were then both edited into a short video sequence to provide a comprehensive and detailed narrative of the work.

Video of M56 Thorley Lane Bridge Replacement project

How else can time-lapse be useful in road construction?

The visual record time-lapse photography provides not only allows contractors, highway authorities, local councils, and government to showcase their work publicly, but can also be used as an important document to win new contracts, influence future pledges and plans to invest in the local area.

Northern Road Bridge installation time-lapse for Portsmouth City Council

Photography captured by a time-lapse camera on location can be used in numerous ways with regards project developments. It documents what is happening for the public and for future use, but it also helps those involved in road projects throughout their working day. As travel is currently limited and many people continue to work from home, the site monitoring ability of time-lapse photography has become increasingly important. Civil engineers, contractors, and government officials can all log in to the viewing portal and see the progress of work instantly. They can work remotely yet be fully in the loop on developments. Time-lapse is an invaluable photographic technique to manage workflow, as it tracks and documents projects. Images can even be overlaid to immediately see how a road layout has developed. 

So whether used by contractors to help manage road projects remotely or by public bodies such as the Highways Agency to showcase transport improvements to the public, time-lapse photography has the flexibility to deliver the high-quality results required.

As the UK’s leading time-lapse video company, we have the expertise and know-how to produce road construction time-lapse videos to high specification requirements. Please contact us for more details and to discuss your next project.

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