What lies beneath – teams working hard underneath M5 Oldbury
Unseen to passing motorists, these images show latest repairs being done at M5 Oldbury with teams busy installing drainage equipment underneath the road.
The new drainage is designed to take water away from the structure and helping to prevent damage to newly repaired concrete.
The complex repair scheme is thought to be the largest scaffolding project in Europe, with more than 400 hundred miles of scaffolding erected, enough scaffold boards to cover seven football pitches and enough scaffold staircases to reach the top of Ben Nevis and Snowdon.
Highways England senior project manager, John Thompson, said: “We have lots of workers hidden from view underneath the road and they are working really hard to get this work completed as quickly and as safely as they can.
“Work is still going on, even if you can’t always see it happening.
“This work is challenging and it’s not always in the easiest of locations for people to get to. In the summer months it is very hot underneath the road and likewise in the winter, workers face freezing conditions given the elevated design of the structure.
“This is an old structure and remember it hasn’t had any large scale repairs of this nature since it opened in 1970.
“During the scheme, we have kept the M5 open at peak times during the day which when you consider the scale of the project, is a challenge.
“We do understand the level of frustration caused by the roadworks but it’s really important that we get this work done both safely and properly.”
To date, Highways England has completed 14,500 concrete repairs – that’s 11,500 more than anticipated – highlighting the scale of repairs needed and justifying why the work is taking place.
Elsewhere, all concrete repairs on the central reservation are now finished with waterproofing and other work taking place until the end of November.
Teams are now working hard to prepare the carriageway for the installation of a new steel and concrete barrier in the central reservation as the scheme nears completion.
Once that work is complete, it will take one week to remove the roadworks between junctions 1 and 2 where motorists will once again benefit from three lanes in each direction.
Following that change, it will then take a further two weeks to remove restrictions at M6 junction 8.
A temporary speed limit will need to remain in place while gantry technology is tested using real-time traffic on the M5 itself.
For more information about the work at Oldbury viaduct visit https://www.highwaysengland.co.uk/oldburyviaduct