Ainscough Crane Hire’s Bristol depot has worked with Briton Fabricators to lift a new bridge into place over the M49 at Avonmouth.
The lift formed part of a £49m Highways England project to construct a new elevated junction for the Avonmouth and Severnside Enterprise Area. Ainscough was hired by Briton Fabricators on behalf of main contractor Galliford Try.
The M49 was due to be closed for the whole weekend, from 8pm on Friday, 21 June to 6am on Monday, 24 June, to enable the delivery of this key part of the project, which involved lifting bridge beams, decking and other infrastructure into place immediately next to the existing bridge at Farm Lane.
But once the 500t crane had manoeuvred the three bridge beams into place, two 55t cranes set about installing the decking, and work was completed ahead of schedule and the M49 reopened to traffic around mid-morning on Sunday, 23 June.
Located to the south of the Western Approach Distribution Park and west of the village of Easter Compton, the two bridges will be linked into a single roundabout spanning the motorway with new access and exit slip roads connecting fully with both northbound and southbound traffic.
Derek Gow, sales and marketing director at Ainscough Crane Hire said: “Our team was very proud to work on this major project on the M49. This was a complex operation that had to be delivered in a tight timeframe, and that we managed to minimise disruption by completing the job a day early is testament to the high level of planning and collaboration by everyone involved in the scheme. I’d like to thank motorists for their patience while we delivered the work, and we look forward to seeing the scheme’s positive impact be felt across the South West in the years ahead.”
Nick Aldworth, Highways England’s southwest regional delivery director, said: “It’s pleasing to reach this stage of the project, and I’m delighted that we were able to complete such a complex operation ahead of schedule. In terms of partnership working, our project team worked hard to make the operation a success and that ultimately minimised the disruption for motorists using the M49.”
Nick Culshaw, operations director, Galliford Try, said: “This fantastic success is testament to the collaborative working between Highways England, Galliford Try and the many stakeholders involved in this project. The detailed planning and engagement led to the bridge being installed safely and nine hours ahead of programme, enabling the early re-opening of the M49 to the travelling public.”
Construction of the new M49 junction is due to be completed by the end of 2019.
The £49 million scheme will not only promote economic growth in this area of Bristol, but also reduce the numbers of HGVs and other vehicles on the local road network.