The Crown Plus team were pleased to put into action the VERGEblaster, their latest bespoke filter drain refurbishment (FDR) technology on the M6 Toll, on a recent scheme of refurbishment works, removing the overburden from filter drains for client Midland Expressway Ltd.

The FDR aspect of the scheme comprised of 14 separate locations on the north and southbound carriageways, covering a total of 9133 meters.

Paul Conner, Commercial Director at Crown Plus thanked the client for having faith in the technology and letting them pilot the VERGEblaster under real life conditions on the scheme.  Putting it to work on this scheme meant we could test it thoroughly, under varied and real-life conditions.

One of the tests we encountered was where the filter stone had been coated in bitumen, meaning the VERGEblaster was rigorously tested going through the bitumen coated stone to reach the silt below it.  Throughout the life of the scheme we were able to modify the process to suit the conditions. When the works first commenced, the VERGEblaster was achieving between 80 – 100m per hour, and after 2 weeks it was processing in excess of 130m per hour.

Eddie O’Brien, Construction Assurance Manager at Crown Plus was in attendance on the scheme and reported how the VERGEblaster particularly excelled on compacted and heavily silted areas of filter drain, providing a swift and advanced solution to filter drain refurbishment.

Paul Conner went on to say, “We are delighted to have developed this bespoke technology and to be able to offer it in our range of services.  As a company and as an industry we need to keep challenging ourselves to develop better systems and solutions to maintain our highways in the most cost-effective ways whilst minimising the impact we have on the environment”.

About the Crown Plus VERGEblaster

Our custom made VERGEBlaster provides a fast, efficient, and economical way to maintain filter drains where overburden builds up at the carriage edge. This patented machine is designed specifically for verges and can extract weeds and silt on verges up to 500mm wide and 200mm deep.

This system prolongs the life of the asset and is up to 50% cheaper than traditional overburden stripping methods utilising excavators and reduces the risk of damage to the carriageway construction edge.

To find out more and to view an animation of the technology visit Our Innovation and Technology – Crown Plus ( or contact