Mervyn to show drivers the way to the Olympics

Mervyn Lambert and Den Varley with the road signs that are being used at the Olympics.
Mervyn Lambert and Den Varley with the road signs that are being used at the Olympics.
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TRAFFIC should flow smoothly at the Olympics, thanks to a Suffolk company.

Mervyn Lambert Plant, in Garboldisham, has won the contract to supply variable message signs and the backup to operate them to the Olympic authorities.

Mervyn Lambert, who founded the company in 1969, said: "We were quite pleased to get it because a contract like that is prestigious and recognises that we're doing it properly.

"It's not just winning the contract, it's being able to tender in the first place. You've got to be vetted to tender."

One of the signs is the first of its type in the country and can display messages in more than one colour. It will be used in the holding area for the courtesy cars which will ferry competitors around the site and will tell drivers who and where they have to pick up.

The other signs are the large portable matrix signs you often see at roadworks. The company, which has had a traffic management section since 2007, was already supplying them to guide construction traffic at the site, but they will stay on to guide visitors.

Mr Lambert said: "Up to 4,000 messages can be programmed into them. We're providing a whole management service, not just renting them signs. The management back-up is quite complex."

The signs even tell the operator the temperature at the scene, allowing them to lower speed limits if it might be icy, and they can be set up to show a car's registration and speed to warn a driver they are speeding.

Getting the contract also means the company will be getting some income from the London area during the Olympics. Mr Lambert said that because all but emergency road works in the capital have been stopped during the games the company, which has almost 200 staff, has lost all the income it would have had supplying plant and equipment for the works.

With more than 2,000 items for hire, Mervyn Lambert Plant can supply everything from strimmers to bulldozers. Its traffic management side not only supplies equipment but offers a full service from computer-aided design of the traffic system around the works to running things like the variable signs.