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First HS2 bridge goes over M42

10 Aug 20 The first permanent structure on the route of the HS2 railway was installed in double quick time last week.

The 2,750-tonne structure was wheeled into place in just 105 minutes
The 2,750-tonne structure was wheeled into place in just 105 minutes

The installation of a 65-metre bridge over the M42 motorway near Solihull was completed in just two day, finishing 22 hours ahead of schedule on 9th August 2020.

It won't be carrying the new railway – it is part of road network remodelling in the vicinity of the planned Interchange Station.

The 2,750-tonne concrete and steel bridge structure was fabricated alongside the motorway over several months and then wheeled into place during a motorway closure using self-propelled modular transporters (SPMTs).

The work was led by concrete structures specialist Expanded –  part of the Laing O’Rourke group – working for HS2 enabling works contractor, LMJV (Laing O’Rourke and J Murphy & Sons Joint Venture). Other key players in the project included steelwork contractor Cleveland Bridge and Dutch heavylift specialist Mammoet, which moved the finished structure into place in just 105 minutes.

LMJV project director Simon Russell said: “This is British construction, design and engineering innovation at its finest. Major components of the bridge and its supports were built offsite under safe, high quality conditions, then transported to site for assembly. Advanced digital capabilities allowed us to design all elements of the structure in a virtual world, before building it for real, and I am delighted that the work was completed safely and ahead of schedule.”

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The bridge was constructed alongside the M42
The bridge was constructed alongside the M42

HS2 Ltd chief executive Mark Thurston, who visited site to witness the operation, said: “This new road bridge is the first permanent structure to be installed along the route of Britain’s new railway. Today represents an important milestone for the project and the West Midlands region – which is already benefiting from thousands of jobs and renewed investment as a result of HS2.

“Constructing the bridge off site and using innovative engineering practices to install it over the motorway enabled us to carry out the work in just two days, keeping disruption to a minimum for road users.”

This is the first of four bridges to be built close to the new Interchange Station in Solihull as part of a remodelling of the regional road network.  Later this year a similar bridge placement will be installed over the A446 later this year, ahead of two more bridge structures to span the new high-speed rail line.

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