M42 will close at Christmas for work on the HS2 bridge


A section of the M42 will be closed from Christmas Eve to Friday December 31 so that contractors working on the High Speed ​​2 (HS2) can carry out preparatory work for a railway bridge that will pass over the motorway.

The M42 will run in both directions from junction 9 for Sutton Coldfield, Lichfield and Coleshill to junction 10 for Tamworth and Nuneaton.

A joint venture between Balfour Beatty and Vinci (BBV) has already started preparations for the innovative ‘sliding box’ railway bridge that will carry HS2 trains on the M42 in North Warwickshire.

The ‘Marsdon box’ structure – the first of its kind in the UK – will be 10,000 t with three walls and a top slab, built on land adjacent to the motorway. Once built, a high-tech raft will then slide the box into position.

The bridge, to be installed later next year, will carry the high-speed rail line north to Birmingham.

The structure will be built on land alongside the motorway and then put in place in the winter of 2022.

The slide being built away from the road and then set up in one movement, only two closures of the M42, each one week, will be necessary. The first is scheduled between Christmas and New Years for prep work, including the removal of the highway surface, the removal of a redundant fuel line, and the removal of an existing drainage system. which will be relocated elsewhere. Site preparation work will also take place.

The second one-week closure will take place in winter 2022, when the box will be set up above the motorway.

To do this, a reinforced concrete slab will be created to serve as a guide raft, with the box built on top.

The box will then be pushed by a lifting system operated by the structural engineering company Freyssinet, which can move the box at speeds of more than 2 m per hour. At this speed, the operation should take four days.

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