THE M42 opened ahead of schedule at the weekend after HS2 removed a bridge 14 hours earlier than planned.
Workers from Solihull-based firm Armac Demolition removed a 4,000 tonne bridge to make way for the HS2 railway between Friday (August 11) and Sunday (August 13).
The team used eight 50 tonne excavators and two 40 tonne excavators to remove the 40 metre long, 10 metre wide bridge during a planned 56 hour closure of the motorway.
HS2 say the excavated material will be crushed and reused on its haul roads and working areas.
The whole job was completed sooner than anticipated, which meant the M42 could be reopened 14 hours ahead of schedule, shortening the closure to 42 hours and reducing disruption to road users
Armac was working for HS2’s civils contractor Balfour Beatty VINCI (BBV) to deliver the operation during the closure of the M42 near HS2’s Interchange Station construction site in Solihull.
The bridge, which carried the A452 over the M42, 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 says it 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.
Ian Clarke, senior project manager at HS2 Ltd said: “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.”
National Highways Senior Network Planner, Frank Bird 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.”
Next, the BBV team will start to construct the huge twin box structure, which will carry HS2 trains over the M42.
HS2 say the structure, measuring 300 metres length by 25 metres width will cover around 130 metres of the M42 and will be built in position whilst maintaining three lanes of traffic flowing on the M42.