Would you like to help build life-changing mega-projects like Transport for London's huge green living wall, the second-largest in Europe? Would you like to work with people who make it their main goal to help local communities enjoy a safer, better travel environment?
If so, take a look at what went into TfL's Woodlands retaining wall project. It's the kind of project you could get to help out with yourself one day if you join their School Leaver programme.
Picture the scene: the North Circular is one of the busiest roads in London. In Golders Green, a raised wall protects people's gardens backing onto the dual carriageway. Many decades on, this wall had been under increasing pressure from trees growing in the soil behind it. The footpath had to be closed because the wall was in danger of collapse.
TfL had to take action to save and protect the wall, but the locals in this peaceful neighbourhood were worried about what would happen to their gardens and lives. This exciting mission was part of a huge £4 billion modernisation plan to improve the road network and create a safer environment for everyone.
Working with the community It was really important to get the wall right, and it was definitely a team effort. There were several ways to deal with the challenge - one of which included closing parts of the North Circular for up to six months - but TfL went for the solution that would be least disruptive to everyone. To start things off they spoke to as many property owners in person as possible. Then they appointed one property owner to speak for the local community to speed things up for everyone.
Once the design and legal considerations were given the go-ahead it was time to plan the build. TfL didn't have to dig out the gardens, and they kept the road open as much as possible, working in less busy times of day. They also took steps to keep the noise down, knowing how important that would be for locals who already had to put up with noise from such a busy road.
A wall with the WOW factor! Finally? The old concrete wall was transformed into... a living green wall! This fantastic vertical garden is the first one TfL have ever installed on their road network. It’s one of the largest in the UK and the second-largest in Europe! It not only looks pretty but helps to improve air quality too.
New ideas, new approaches Tfl put lots of care into the design and how the irrigation system worked to make sure plants would keep on growing and looking beautiful. TfL engineers can operate the system from a phone app which tells them if the plants ever need more water to be pumped in on a dry day. This is a very intelligent green wall!
The local community are also very pleased with their amazing living wall and everyone hopes it will continue to thrive and grow for years to come.
What’s TfL’s secret? BAM Nuttall project manager James Beale had this to share about TfL’s success: "The secret to a successful project is being able to work closely together at the early stages of construction to really come up with a solution that's best for everyone involved."
TfL School Leaver Training Programme Thinking about a career route that helps you learn while you’re getting paid to do a job and build your work skills? The TfL School Leaver Training Programme is an opportunity to get into a career that could soon have you working on projects as big as refurbishing the Hammersmith flyover!
Read more about Transport For London here.