Contractors working for HS2 Ltd have installed a 65-metre road bridge across the M42 in Solihull in just two days.
The motorway re-opened on Sunday (9 August), which the firm building the high speed rail line said was 22 hours earlier than planned.
With works led by specialist engineering contractor Expanded and HS2 enabling works contractor LMJV (Laing O’Rourke and J. Murphy & Sons Joint Venture), the 2,750-tonne bridge structure was carried along the motorway on a self-propelled modular transporter.
The 448-wheel transporter took one hour and 45 minutes to move the bridge span 150 metres, where it was affixed to a composite concrete deck to complete the overall bridge structure.
HS2 Ltd said traditional construction methods would have required several weeks of lane closures on both carriageways, followed by additional weekend and overnight closures.
CEO Mark Thurston said: ‘This new road bridge is the first permanent structure to be installed along the route of Britain’s new railway.
‘Today represents an important milestone for the project and the West Midlands region - which is already benefiting from thousands of jobs and renewed investment as a result of HS2.’
The bridge is the first of four to be built close to the new Interchange Station and forms part of the major remodelling of the regional road network which aims to improve the circulation of traffic around the HS2 railway line and connect the existing road network to the new Interchange Station.
HS2 Ltd said the station is at the heart of the UK Central Hub growth area, which will create 70,000 new and safeguarded jobs, up to 5,000 new homes and 650,000 square metres of commercial space
It added that further work in preparation for the arrival of HS2 is scheduled to take place later this year. A similar bridge will be installed over the A446, ahead of two more bridge structures being installed which will span the new high-speed rail line.