Virtual test leads to bridge lift success

05/05/2022
Chris Ames

Skanska has released a timelapse video of the installation of a new 92-tonne bridge on the M42 in the West Midlands, as part of a £282m upgrade.

The bridge will enable people to walk and cycle over the busy A45 between Clock Interchange Island and Junction 6 near the Arden Hotel in Solihull.

The firm said that as part of a complex night-time operation last weekend, the bridge, which is nearly 60m long, was successfully lowered into position above the A45.

Using digital technology, 4D model and Site Vision, the bridge lift was initially tested in a ‘safe digital space’ in the months leading up to the operation.

Skanska said this ensured that the on-site lift and placement could be performed safely and to schedule and that the A45 could be re-opened on time.

The operation itself involved two cranes and a team of 30 people. The bridge is now in position, with ramp steelwork, back of wall drainage and lighting to be completed before it opens to the public later this year.

Project director Chris Good said: ‘Since the project started more than 18 months ago, we have been working towards delivering this critical piece of infrastructure. It has involved an incredible amount of design, planning and logistics management and we’re delighted to have completed it successfully, safely and on schedule.

‘The collaborative approach of our entire team, from National Highways, Mott MacDonald, Skanska and the supply chain and key stakeholders has led to this successful outcome.’

Skanska said the bridge was manufactured by its fabrication business and is the biggest bridge structure it has built to date. A team of 50 people were involved in the project, from the initial design stage and throughout the manufacturing and installation process.

Skanska’s fabrication business stream director, Steve Joynson, said:  ‘Utilising the lifting capability of our workshop in Doncaster meant we could fabricate the bridge offsite and then install on-site, ensuring improved safety and quality outcomes.’

The overall scheme aims to improve access to the National Exhibition Centre, home of Traffex; HS2; and Birmingham Airport and involves the construction of:

  • a new 2.4km dual carriageway link road, aligned to the west of Bickenhill
  • a new junction (5a) on the M42 motorway, approximately 1.8km south of the existing Junction 6
  • two new roundabouts north of the B4102 Solihull Road on either side of the M42

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