The Woolwich Squares contract for the complete refurbishment of General Gordon Square and Beresford Square in the heart of Woolwich town centre was awarded to VolkerHighways in March 2010.
The works included over 9,500 square metres of high quality granite paving and feature benches plus a large water feature in General Gordon Square. The work was completed in a jigsaw of sections to provide continued access to the public, shops and traders. Part of the site spanned over a Network Rail tunnel so extra liaison, design works and care were required to avoid damage.
Beresford Square is occupied most days by busy market stalls and so the works to re-sculpture and refurbish this area were carried out whilst the market continued to trade. This entailed the setting up of a liaison group to keep traders informed of what we are planning and to agree relocating them temporarily elsewhere in the square while their stands are being re-built. Liaison with bordering shop owners was also included in this forum.
Jamie Smith, VolkerHighways project manager said: "The key to this project was to get buy-in from market traders, so we regularly communicated with the council's market manager and a representative group of stall holders. The biggest issue on site was the massive amount of unknown utilities that have been added over the years. We held regular meetings with the owners of these assets to agree how they should be moved or replaced.
"Interestingly we have obtained photographs of the site taken during Victorian times which show where the old tramlines and granite cobbles were. This gives us heads-up on what to expect when we excavate. It's like a living history lesson."Part of the square was kept open to the public during the World Cup to accommodate a giant TV screen and crowds of viewers.