Skanska and Armac Group finish M42 bridge demolition early


Time-lapse footage has been released showing the complex demolition of a road bridge to enable major motorway upgrades valued at £282 million. 

Credit: Armac Group.

The collapse of the old Solihull Road bridge (M42) took place over the Coronation Bank Holiday weekend as part of a wider programme of works by National Highways. 

Credit: Armac Group.

To complete the bridge demolition safely, the M42 was fully closed in both directions between Junction 5 (Solihull) and Junction 6 (NEC/Birmingham Airport) from 10pm on Friday 5 May, with a signposted diversion route put in place. 

Coventry demolition contractor Armac Group was appointed by National Highways to carry out the collapse which, once complete and cleared, saw the M42 reopen 22 hours ahead of schedule with closures removed early on Sunday morning. 

The demolition of the old Solihull Road bridge triggers the next phase of a multi-million-pound programme to upgrade Junction 6 of the M42 in Solihull, for which Skanska is the main contractor managing development.  

Skanska will now begin construction of new slip roads for the new Junction 5a on the M42. 

The scheme is part of a congestion-busting upgrade to alleviate queues for drivers. 

Credit: Armac Group.

“This is a significant milestone for the project,” said Dan Trathen, Skanska’s project director for the scheme. “The new Solihull Road bridge was lifted into position last autumn and is expected to open by the end of July 2023.  

“Before this can happen the old bridge had to be demolished. Thanks to the team this is now complete, and we are able to build the slip roads for the new junction.” 

National Highways programme lead, Jon Slemmonds, added:Given the scale of the task involved, the bridge was removed using specialist equipment. 

“We’re making good progress on the upgrade and once the work is complete, it will alleviate congestion at a well-known bottleneck on the M42.” 

Previous works on the scheme also included installation of overhead gantries displaying real-time traffic updates.  

The construction of retaining walls for the new junction was also a key part of the upgrade design to ease congestion.  

Armac specialises in demolition, rail and civils works, land reclamation, asbestos removal, and remediation and refurbishment strip-outs.  

Previous projects by the firm include Olympic Way in Wembley, where it carried out preconstruction, as well as the complete demolition of the iconic Wembley Way pedestrian footbridge, on behalf of Volker Fitzpatrick.   

Video credit: Skanska UK.

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