Lanes drainage expertise backs city bus and cycle boost

Drainage engineers from Lanes Group plc have used their highway drain surveying expertise to support a scheme to improve bus travel, cycling and walking in the UK’s most densely populated city.

They have carried out CCTV drainage surveys along two stretches of road in Portsmouth, Hampshire, for contractor Griffiths Engineering and Construction, which is making the road improvements for Portsmouth City Council.

The work is part of the £56m South East Hampshire Rapid Transit (SEHRT) programme, jointly run by Portsmouth City Council, Isle of Wight Council and Hampshire County Council to boost bus travel, cycling and walking, and improve road safety.

Drainage locations

Highway drainage surveys carried out by teams from the Lanes Southampton depot were needed as part of pre-works investigations for the projects on Lake Road and Unicorn Road.

Griffiths Site Manager Jonathan Cooper said: “The Lanes teams did a good job. We need to establish the condition and precise locations of highway drainage before we start the construction work.

“Some of the drains will be moved as sections of both roads are being widened to create new bus lanes and shared pedestrian and cycle paths. But, where drains and gullies are being retained, the surveys tell us if they’ll need to be replaced or repaired.”

Night working

Lanes Southampton Area Development Manager Keith Oldbury said: “We were very pleased to be commissioned to carry out these surveys for a road scheme that will bring significant benefits to Portsmouth.

“We completed the surveys in five days working nights to minimise travel disruption. Our survey data will allow engineers at Alun Griffiths to plan necessary highways drainage changes with confidence.”

Lanes deployed a CCTV drainage survey unit supported by a recycler jet vac tanker to carry out the survey – with the jet vac tanker cleaning the drain lines to allow a robotic CCTV camera to be sent along the pipes.

Sustainable jetting

The camera captured HD quality video inside the pipes, allowing the Lanes CCTV drainage technician to plot key features, including chambers and lateral junctions, plus potential defects that could include cracks, holes, joint displacements, or root ingress.

The recycler jet vac tanker deployed can filter and reuse its water, allowing it to stay on station for longer without having to refill its tank. This increases productivity by an estimated 62% and boosts sustainability by reducing water and fuel use.

Stretches of carriageway 500m long in Lake Road and 250m long in Unicorn Road were surveyed, with mostly clay pipe with diameters mainly of 125mm and 225mm being investigated.

Travel improvements

Griffiths is a sustainable civil engineering contractor with its head office in Abergavenny, Wales, that connects communities through road, rail, water, and utilities construction projects.

It began the main construction work in September 2023 in a programme of works due to last 10 months. New features being introduced include bus gates – short sections of road used only by buses, taxis and bikes – pedestrian crossings, shared paths for pedestrians and cyclists, dedicated cycle paths, and new bus lanes.

Portsmouth City Council says new higher-capacity surface water drainage systems being laid during the work will be designed to cope with bursts of heavier rainfall caused by climate change, reducing the risk of wastewater being discharged into the sea.

Joined up

Funding for the SEHRT work has come from the government’s Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) in 2020. The programme is designed to support individual schemes that will join up to create a more efficient and sustainable regional transport and travel system.

Lanes is the UK’s largest independent drainage and wastewater specialist, delivering a wide range of services, including drain and sewer unblocking, rehabilitation through advanced cured in place pipe (CIPP) lining, sewer replacement, tankering and industrial cleaning.

Find out more

Talk to Lanes about its highway drainage services, which include a comprehensive range of HADDMS-compliant investigation services, including topographic, GPS, GPR and asset condition surveys.

Telephone: 0800 526 488. Email:

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