M6 Bridge Removed In 48 Hours

A motorway bridge has been removed to make way for a new structure that can handle the congestion better.

A motorway bridge has been removed to make way for a new structure that can handle the congestion better.

The south bridge at Junction 10 of the M6 was demolished in under 48 hours, National Highways revealed, 50 years after it was built.

Project manager for National Highways Annie Hyett noted that taking down a bridge of this size is “a complex operation”. However, the plan went smoothly and was completed four hours ahead of schedule, meaning the busy motorway could open earlier than planned.

“Road users will soon be able to enjoy the full benefits of the improvements to the junction which will help combat the traffic hold-ups endured at this bottleneck for many years,” she stated.

To enable the operation to go ahead, Junction 10 was closed to the public from Friday (6 May) until 01:30am the following Monday.

Motorway users were diverted over the road at Junction 10, across the roundabout and were able to return to the M6.

In a few weeks, a similar operation will be carried out to remove the existing north bridge. This will take place on the weekend of 20 to 23 May, with the M6 being closed in both directions between Junction 10 exit and entry slip roads until 06:00 on 23 May.

National Highways has warned anyone needing to use the road during that time: “We’re expecting severe delays during the closure, and we’re asking drivers to avoid using the M6 if possible.”

A statement also added: “The demolition work is likely to be very noisy over the weekend, so we apologise to any residents for the disturbance that may be experienced.”

Although drivers might consider finding alternative routes on local roads, they have also been warned that these will be “significantly busier”. Therefore, it is advisable to use public transport, or walk or cycle to the destination instead, as well as leave longer for the journey. 

Two new structures will replace them, having been built alongside the old bridges before they were demolished. These each consist of four lanes, doubling the amount of traffic they can hold, and intended to ease congestion on this busy stretch of the motorway.

Prior to the demolition of the old bridge, this junction experienced “significant congestion and traffic delays, particularly during morning and evening peak times”.

As well as there being capacity issues due to the increasing amount of traffic in this area, the bridges themselves were built in the 1970s. Over the last 50 years, millions of cars would have travelled over them, putting pressure on the structures, and causing wear and tear.

Therefore, if they were not being replaced, they are likely to have had to undergo considerable bridge repairs to make them structurally sound to continue carrying the weight of constant traffic on a daily basis. 

The entire project, which has been funded by National Highways and Walsall Council, is expected to have cost £78 million. This funding has been supported by the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership.