February 14, 2022

The Equipment Supporting the UK’s Roads

Vital to safety, navigation, and highway cooperation, the UK’s road markings are essential to keeping motorists moving. But how is a road network of over 250,000 miles maintained?

When it comes to working on road markings on a national scale, having the right equipment is key.

WJ Group is the UK’s market-leading specialist road safety business and the country’s largest road marking and line removal contractor. One of the company’s specialist areas is providing temporary markings for UK roadworks. For WJ Group, equipment must be able to work reliably every night without causing damage to the country’s most important highways. WJ’s kit of choice for removing old or temporary markings is Hog Technologies water blasters.

The power of water

Experts in road marking, WJ Group seeks the best, most efficient and most environmentally friendly tools for the job. Hog Technologies' water blasters use high-pressure water to remove markings and debris from the road surface.

“Removing markings with water is much more environmentally friendly than previous methods,” says Nick Holt, managing director for WJ North. “Traditional methods used to burn off markings with a compressed air/gas lance created a cloud of smoke. This debris and subsequent runoff could get into waterways, create air pollution, or affect people’s lungs.”

Using nothing but clean, potable water and zero chemicals, Hog Technologies waterblasters create no such cloud of smoke and no chemical runoff, making operations non-hazardous to workers’ health and the environment. Hog equipment is also armed with unique vacuum recovery apparatus, which collects debris as it goes along, leaving nothing behind.

“This is a major step forward environmentally,” says Holt. “Hog Technologies was instrumental in the introduction of waterblasting to the UK.”

Efficiency is also essential for a company responsible for maintaining highways across the country and keeping them moving. The speed of waterblasting, compared to traditional chemical and manual methods of line removal, enables longer stretches of road to be covered in the same amount of time.

Water can also reach deep down into the road surface’s macro and microtexture to clean it efficiently with the least amount of negative impact on the surface, which is vital when working on the country’s principal roadways and highways. Hog Technologies are enabled with powerful technological capabilities, which give operators superior control over their results.

Hog Technologies equipment in action

WJ Group currently operates four Stripe Hog waterblasters for its operations across the country, and its performance is best-in-class, says Holt: “It’s up there with the best equipment in the UK.”

The Stripe Hog plays a role in installing most of the larger roadworks in the UK, which require temporary lines to be marked and removed without causing damage to the road surface.

“It is vital we remove the lines properly, because people’s lives depend on it. If they are driving along that stretch of road the next day at 50mph we cannot risk any confusion,” says Holt. “So it’s very important to have the right kit with the right training, maintenance facilities and technical backup.”

In 2012, WJ Group was responsible for restoring London’s road network after the Olympic Games implemented large-scale changes to the network through the use of temporary markings. For this important, large-scale project, the Stripe Hog’s efficiency, reliability and ease of use made all the difference, Holt explains: “We would have struggled to complete the work as quickly and efficiently as we did without the use of waterblasting technology.”

Partners in safety

“We were one of the first companies in the UK to buy a Hog Technologies machine, and we have never looked back,” says Holt. “These machines are out working every night, and we have never had any problems.”

Like all Hog Technologies customers, WJ Group benefits from the Hog commitment to customer service, including customer and technical support offered 24/7 in any language within 10 minutes, and the guarantee that 98% of spare part orders are shipped the same day they are received.

With the safety of over 30 million drivers in the UK at stake, only the best equipment will do. Armed with Hog Technologies waterblasters, WJ Group continues to keep roadways across the country moving.