A massive two-span bridge over the M42 in the West Midlands has been removed to make way for the HS2 railway.
Demolition experts from Solihull-based Armac Demolition worked on behalf of Balfour Beatty VINCI (BBV) to remove the 4,000-tonne structure – and did it 14 hours ahead of schedule.
The 20-strong team used eight 50-tonne excavators and two 40-tonne excavators to remove the bridge, which was 40 metres long and 10 wide.
Work was carried out during a planned 56-hour closure of the motorway, but this was shortened to 42 hours when the job was completed sooner than anticipated.
The bridge carried the A452 over the M42. It was removed to allow for a new twin box structure to be constructed, which will carry the high speed line over the motorway in the future.
HS2 has built a new, improved road structure and roundabout, which now carries the A452, and in future will also enable access to the new HS2 Interchange Station.
Oliver Shore, BBV’s construction director, said: “The demolition of the existing M42 bridge will kickstart the next phase of works, with our attention now turning to the construction of the new twin box structure which is designed to carry Britain’s new zero carbon railway – HS2 – over the motorway.”
Ian Clarke, HS2 Ltd’s senior project manager, added: “This is another fantastic milestone for our civils team in the West Midlands, as construction of HS2 moves on at pace. The team did a brilliant job to get the demolition finished way ahead of schedule, meaning the motorway could be reopened much earlier than anticipated.”
HS2 and BBV worked closely with National Highways and their supply chain to enable the demolition works, with all existing motorway technology diverted or removed prior to the demolition.
In the last year, BBV has also diverted power and telecommunications cables away from the structure ahead of the demolition.
Frank Bird, National Highways’ senior network planner, said: “This bridge demolition was a really big project, and we have worked closely with HS2 over the past few months to plan the closure of the M42 and to try and limit disruption during the work.
“Given the complexity of the work involved, we’re really pleased to see the work completed ahead of time and it’s testament to the hard work of those involved that we could open the road earlier than planned.”
Noel McLean, technical director of Armac Demolition said: “The detailed planning that had been put into the project over the last 12 months by Balfour Beatty VINCI and Armac resulted in an excellent performance over the weekend.
“A safely executed project, completed well ahead of the closure schedule, and not a single mark on the carriageway. Great performance by all involved – looking forward to the next one.”
Main image: The bridge is removed from the M42
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