Bridge works close motorway

THE M4 has undergone the first of three overnight closures as part of work to replace the A432 Badminton Road bridge.

National Highways, which owns the bridge and is responsible for the replacement work, closed the motorway in both directions between the Hambrook and Tormarton junctions (19 and 18) overnight on April 18, and has announced two more closures, on May 16 and June 13, from 9.30pm until 6am each night.

Drivers heading east are being diverted via the M32 on to the A4174 Avon Ring Road, the A420 between Warmley and Cold Ashton, then the A46 to Tormarton, with westbound traffic diverted onto the same route in the opposite direction.

The closure is part of “investigations to determine utility connection points”, as engineers work out how to reroute the cables and pipes which are carried by the bridge.

They are also carrying out “ecological mitigation” before vegetation clearance around the structure begins. Surveys at the site found that dormice, a protected species, live there, which means the contractors need a special licence from environment body Natural England.

The bridge, which carried 16,000 vehicles a day on the A432 between Bristol and Yate, closed last July after engineers found “accelerated deterioration and cracking” in the concrete.

It meant motorists who travelled on Badminton Road between Downend and Frampton Cotterell had to find alternative routes, in part on narrow country roads.

In an update on its work National Highways said: “At present, we are on schedule to begin trenching works below the M4 around mid-June, with an anticipated demolition date of September/October, subject to coordination with utility providers and other authorities.

“The bridge will remain open to pedestrians and cyclists until demolition takes place.”

“Further overnight closures may be required before demolition of the structure.”