ROADWORKERS behind the M42 safety project near Birmingham are the apple of a commuter’s eye after completing a rather unusual request.
Rhys Davies, an amateur apple grower from Solihull, emailed the project team to ask about fruit he saw growing on the roadside verge near the M42/M40 interchange during his commute to Malvern.
He was curious to find out the species and asked if anyone could take a cutting for him.
His request was investigated by bmJV, the team delivering the safety scheme, which sent site operatives into the verge to collect some apples and take cuttings.
Rhys, who has been growing apples on his patio for a couple of years, was then invited to the site to collect them.
He said: “I was driving through the works at the M40/M42 interchange each day and seeing the apple tree in the verge continued to pique my curiosity so late one evening I sent an email to National Highways.
“I knew they were working on the central reservation, so I thought I’d ask if one of the guys there would reach across to the verge and take a cutting for me.
“I was staggered and when I got to the compound I was really surprised at how thorough they’d been. I was expecting a few little cuttings, but they gave me so much.
“This was a window on human nature. You don’t expect people to take time out of a busy day to honour a request like this.
“The guys I met were great, so enthusiastic and happy to have done this for me.”
Rhys has put some of the cuttings with others on his patio and will try to graft some onto existing growths when the weather warms up, while trying to grow others in a vase.
Rich Knowles, bmJV Construction Manager, said: “This was definitely not the type of request we normally deal with but it was nice to be able to do this for Rhys.
“Helping customers isn’t just an add-on – it’s a key part of our schemes and important that it’s supported throughout the team at every level. This has been a brilliant example of putting the road user at the heart of what we do.”
The recently completed M40/M42 safety enhancement scheme involved replacing five-and-a-half miles of steel central reservation barrier with concrete, installing new drainage and replacing lighting.
Much of the same team is now delivering similar benefits further along the M42 between junctions four (for Monkspath) and seven (for Coleshill), replacing the steel central reservation barrier between junctions four and five (for Solihull) and installing additional CCTV cameras and signage in the motorway verge.
Both schemes are part of a wider programme to enhance safety on sections of motorway.