A fleet of excavators built by East Staffordshire digger giant JCB is playing a major role in a road construction project on the doorstep of the factory where they were built.

Earth-moving specialist JC Balls and Sons is working for a Carillion-Tarmac joint venture on the A50 Growth Corridor Project A - part of the National Infrastructure Plan - constructing a grade-separated junction on the A50 dual carriageway to the west of Uttoxeter.

The company is operating a mixed fleet of equipment on the project, including three 22-tonne JCB JS220 crawler excavators, a 36-tonne JS370 and a wheeled JS175W - all manufactured at the neighbouring JCB Heavy Products factory, in Uttoxeter.

Other JCB machinery being used includes a 57C-1 compact excavator, a JCB 718 articulated dump truck and a JCB VM115 soil compactor.

The project is hoping to improve the A50


One of the JS220 excavators has been bought specifically for the A50 project by long-standing JCB customer JC Balls and Sons, of Belper, a company which was founded in 1963 with a single JCB 3 backhoe loader model.

JCB Heavy Products managing director Buta Atwal said: “It is fantastic to see JCB excavators at work on our doorstep. There is huge pride across the workforce seeing machines manufactured here at JCB Heavy Products at work every day on a high-profile project which is bringing huge benefits to the area.”


JC Balls and Sons, based in Belper, specialises in earthmoving and bulk excavations. The company employs more than 100 people and operates a fleet of more than 50 machines and 30 lorries.

Dane Potts, contracts manager at JC Balls and Sons, said: “Around 90 per cent of our machinery on the project is equipped with GPS machine control and we have found that it can cut the time on site almost by half.

"We have a longstanding relationship with JCB and we continue to be impressed by the equipment.

JCBs created in East Staffordshire are being used on the A50 project

“The earthworks aspect is a major part of the A50 project and we’ve worked closely with Carillion to develop the most effective earthworks strategy. We are proud to be heavily involved in such a prestigious Midlands project.”

The Tarmac-Carillion joint venture is working on Project A of the A50 Growth Corridor scheme near Uttoxeter. With the project managed by Amey, the scheme is creating three new roundabouts, two to the south and one to the north of the A50 dual carriageway.

These will be joined by a new bridge structure and there will be extended slip roads to ease congestion on this busy trunk road. The project will provide improved access to a housing development and to new employment sites to the west of Uttoxeter.

Six 47-metre long steel bridge beams were lifted into place across the A50 this month (July) resting on piers which have been constructed using 210,000 tonnes of pulverised fuel ash from Rugeley Power Station.

JCB machines are being used by JC Balls and Sons to redevelop the A50

Around 30,000m³ of existing material has been stabilised with the addition of lime, to provide increased structural properties and to reduce the amount of soil that has had to be taken from the site.

The project is expected to be completed by November 2018, when it will provide improved access and reduced congestion to this busy cross-country trunk road.