Safety enhancements at the M40/M42 interchange in the West Midlands are due to be complete before Christmas, several months earlier than planned.
The National Highways scheme, which has seen around five-and-a-half miles of steel central reservation barrier replaced with concrete, new drainage installed and lighting replaced, was originally due to be complete in spring 2024.
But, the majority of daytime traffic management will be removed by the end of this week, although overnight restrictions will be in place until the scheme completes in time for the Christmas getaway.
The early finish is down to a number of factors including identifying an innovative new precast concrete barrier on the market which can be laid faster than other types of concrete barrier installations.
The scheme’s delivery partner bmJV worked with supplier Hardstaff Barriers to develop the product for this project which has a different foundation design that allows a quicker installation process and eliminates some of the time-consuming post-installation operations required for other barriers.
Contractors also found that the existing drainage in the central reservation required less significant upgrades than was originally thought. Furthermore, the project team worked closely with other road schemes in the area and local authorities to plan closures and diversions without delaying each other’s works.
National Highways Project Sponsor Nick Wells said:
“All these factors have combined for the good of the road user at this busy gateway to the West Midlands. It’s been a great collaborative piece of work and we are delighted to be completing these improvements so far ahead of schedule.
“Road users will soon benefit from the range of measures implemented on this scheme which is part of a wider programme of work to further enhance safety on existing dynamic hard shoulder motorways.”
Many of the M40/M42 scheme’s contractors will now move further north on the M42 to deliver similar safety improvements using the same construction techniques and materials.
Overnight closures will be required for environmental surveys this month and next with main traffic management installed and construction starting in January.
The work involves replacing the steel central reservation barrier between junctions 4 and 5 and the installation of additional CCTV cameras and signage in the motorway verge.
The majority of these verge works will be carried out at night under separate lane closures in parallel with the construction of the new central reserve concrete barrier leading to construction completion late next summer.