Birmingham's Perry Barr flyover removed

Dominic Browne

A well-known flyover in Birmingham has been demolished as part of a £27.1m highway works programme in preparation for the Commonwealth Games.

The works include the removal of the Perry Barr A34 flyover, putting all traffic onto a dual carriageway at ground level; the retention of the A34 underpass and replacement of the A34/A4040 roundabout with a four arm traffic signal junction.

The council's business case states: 'This improvement scheme forms a key part of the wider regeneration of Perry Barr, delivering sustainable transport alternatives including bus priority and promoting active travel. These measures will help unlock and deliver sustainable economic growth, improved connectivity and will facilitate the delivery of circa 5,000 additional homes over the next 20 years.

'The hosting of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham has provided an opportunity to accelerate the planned investment in Perry Barr to bring forward the benefits this scheme will deliver.'

Perry Barr and surrounding areas are undergoing a £500m regeneration project.

The scheme has proven to be controversial however. In a consutlation with more than 1,500 respondents, 81% did not support the proposed changes to the A34 Walsall Road/ A453 Aldridge Road junction layout as many 'felt there would be an incease in congestion as a result of removing the flyover'.

The dismantling of the Perry Barr flyover in north Birmingham was successfully completed by Tarmac, marking a major milestone in Phase 2 of the A34 Perry Barr highways improvement scheme.

The 50-year-old structure was safely removed in just a single weekend (February 5-8) to make way for the new road layout, which will incorporate a new dual carriageway, cycle paths and improved public transport services.

Working alongside specialist subcontractor S Evans & Sons Demolition, Tarmac employed seven excavators to remove the flyover – four of which are among the largest machines of their type currently being used on the UK road network.

Tarmac said the excavator machines were fitted with ‘cruncher’ attachments to crush and remove the concrete superstructure, and ‘shear’ attachments to cut through the steel supports.

Over 300 lorry loads of materials were removed from the site, with all of the waste steel and concrete set to be recycled.

Andy Brown, director of Tarmac’s infrastructure business, said: 'The dismantling of the A34 flyover is a critical milestone in the long-term regeneration of Perry Barr.

'To have successfully and safely completed this phase of works ahead of schedule and under a tight programme is a testament to the dedication, skill, and expertise of our team. We are extremely proud of the work undertaken and were able to open the road an hour and a half ahead of schedule.'

Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for transport and environment, Waseem Zaffar, said: 'It’s a great credit to all involved that such a complex operation was carried out safely, speedily and with minimum disruption. We are now able to turn our attention to completing the new road layout, which will provide better access to public transport and improved facilities for walking and cycling in Perry Barr.'

Transport for West Midlands, working closely with Tarmac and the city council, led in the organisation and communication of statutory diversion routes.

The network was closely monitored through the Regional Transportation Coordination Centre.

Phase 2 of the A34 Perry Barr highways improvement scheme is set to complete in May, with Tarmac planning to lift pre-cast sections of a new bridge onto the redesigned Birchfield Junction nearby within the next few weeks.

The wider programme of Perry Barr highway improvement works is set to be completed at the end of this year.

The programme includes:

  • public realm improvements for a 200m section of Aldridge Road which is to be closed to general traffic to provide access for pedestrians, cyclists and southbound buses
  • the junction at A34 Birchfield Road/ A4040 Aston Lane/ Wellington Road, which is currently a roundabout with pedestrian subways, will be changed to a crossroads with traffic lights and pedestrian crossings. 
  • the existing Birmingham Cycle Revolution route will be extended along the A34 from Heathfield Road to Perry Barr Centre;
  • bus lanes on the A34 will provide priority for existing bus services and for the future Sprint services.

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