Frequently-hit motorway bridge to be demolished

A bridge over the M42 which was hit twice in one week, and nearly 20 times in ten years, will be demolished.

The structure between junctions 7 (M6 Junction 4) and 6 (Birmingham Airport) was struck by two lorries using the motorway below earlier this month. Since then the southbound carriageway has been reduced to two lanes for safety reasons.

The bridge carries the A452 over the motorway but is now only used by HS2 construction crews. It was not HS2 lorries which struck the bridge.

National Highways Asset Needs Manager, Greg Fernee, said: “We and our colleagues at HS2 have carried out extensive investigations since the most recent bridge strikes.  We have considered whether a structural repair could be carried out, but as the bridge was already due to be demolished next year, and because it has been struck so many times despite exceeding minimum headroom requirements, the safest and most cost-effective way forward is to demolish the bridge now.

“Existing lane closures will remain in place for safety reasons until that can be achieved. We understand this will be frustrating for road users, so we ask for their continued understanding and patience while we prepare to bring the bridge down in a safe and controlled way.”

The bridge, which has been hit some 20 times in the last 10 years, is due to be removed under a full closure of the M42 from 9pm on Friday, 9 February to 5am on Monday, 12 February.

Before that though, some utilities need to be diverted and an overhead gantry, four lighting columns, a CCTV camera and a number of roadside signal boxes need to be removed.

This will take place under full overnight closures from 9pm to 5am each weekday night, starting on Monday, 29 January. 

During the weekend closure for the demolition, the southbound carriageway will be closed from M42 junction 9 to junction 6, together with the link arm from M6 south to M42 south and the M6 north to M42 south arm.

The northbound carriageway will be closed from junction 6 to 7 including the link to the M6. There will be no impact on the M6 toll.

(Picture – National Highways)

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