Described as the ‘most extended civil operation since the railways were built’ (The Times, 24 June 1958), the M1 motorway was the first long-distance, inter-urban motorway to be constructed in Britain, and the first motorway to consist of three carriage lanes. The M1 and subsequent new motorways revolutionised travel in the UK, making journeys quicker, in addition to reducing congestion and road accidents.
Leica Geosystems has been supporting the UK’s infrastructure for the past 50 years and has been very influential in some major construction projects. One of these projects involved improvement of the M1 motorway and A43 trunk road interchange at junction 15a in Northamptonshire. This involved monitoring a live motorway while a box jack was installed. As a result of this monitoring regime, all six lanes of the motorway at this bottleneck junction remained operational throughout the six-month monitoring period.
Leica Geosystems has also been influential in improving road safety over the last 50 years, in particular helping the UK Police Force speed up forensic examination of crash sites. Thanks to the development of the Leica ScanStation C10, Police are able to capture an entire accident scene – right down to near-invisible skid marks and fragments of glass, in the blink of an eye. Police experts say the equipment has reduced the time needed to analyse crash scenes by about 40 per cent.