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M1 Bridge Demolition

10 July 2012

The Costain-Carillion joint venture closed a section of the M1 recently for almost 16 hours.

The route between London and the Midlands was closed between Junctions 11 and 13 to allow the demolition of one of the motorway’s original bridges at Junction 12 as part of the overall programme of improvements at the interchange.

The jv team had between 8pm on Saturday 30 June to noon on Sunday 1 July to remove the 41-metre, 1400-tonne reinforced concrete structure, which previously carried the A5120 that connected Dunstable and Flitwick.

A replacement – constructed from steel beams with an in situ concrete deck – was already in position and operational when the work got underway.

The job went smoothly, accomplished using hydraulic breakers, with the jv team able to hand the motorway back 30 minutes ahead of deadline.

Unsurprisingly, the demolition attracted considerable attention. Regional press helped promote the message that the M1 would be closed and media were onsite to film the work and interview Highways Agency Project Manager, Lynne Stinson.

Local interest was such that public viewing facilities were put in place on the new bridge to allow residents to watch the demolition process.

A few weeks before the work got underway Angela Barker, Chairwoman of Central Bedfordshire Council, visited the site with the press to speak about the forthcoming demolition. The Highways Agency also produced a four-page leaflet detailing the work and the accompanying diversions for distribution.

The team took the opportunity of the weekend closure to tackle extra work, meaning less disruption will be needed on other occasions.

This included resurfacing the MSA slip roads, removing lighting columns between Junctions 12 and 13, erecting two gantries and additional gantry signage elsewhere, laying permanent road markings between Junctions 12 and 13 and making central reserve barrier improvements.

Along with the bridge demolition, testing of the managed motorway technology and opening and closing the hard shoulder for traffic is ongoing between junctions 10 and 11, with the section due to be fully operational in mid-July. The technology will see the hard shoulder assigned as available to traffic at busy periods to give additional capacity.  Work on the remaining sections between Junctions 11 and 13 continues.

Using the hard shoulder removes the requirement for widening, as it provides additional capacity through use of the hard shoulder. Currently used only on the M42 and M6 in the West Midlands, the M1 will employ it under the direction of the Highways Agency East Region Control Centre when required.

Please click on the attached film: