Throughout December, construction work has continued to take place in several areas across the site, namely the existing A46 Bridge, new Dalehouse Lane Roundabout and Westley Bridge.
There is currently still a 50-mph speed limit being enforced on the A46 mainline to allow safe working during the construction process. Crucially, this is an aspect of traffic management which will remain in place for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, a 30mph speed limit is operating on Stoneleigh Road, which runs for the entire site extent and again is anticipated to be in place for the foreseeable future.
The existing A46 bridge was closed to traffic on 21 November 2022 until Christmas. This has allowed crucial work and repairs to the bridge deck, service trough, and replacement carriageway to be constructed.
The site closed down for Christmas on 23 December 2022 and reopened on Tuesday 3 January 2023.
Progress to Date
The 4 wingwalls of Westley Bridge were poured in late November. Following the pour, the formwork to the wingwalls were removed in early December.
After the formwork was removed, work commenced on the parapet edge beams. The edge beams are the visible beams at the edge of the deck, where the Vehicle Restraint System (VRS or steel bridge parapet) will be connected to.
The work started with fixing reinforcement bars and adjusting the cages to the correct level. After this, the formwork was created and set up in place. Once the formwork was set up and the reinforcement was placed correctly, the concrete was poured in the last week before Christmas. The edge beam concrete pour was significantly smaller than the deck, but provided different challenges, such as the angle of the concrete and the visible finish amongst others. The concrete will be left to cure over Christmas.
The edge beams are the final concrete element of Westley Bridge and their pour means that all structural elements for Westley Bridge are now complete.
The next actions will be on installing bridge deck drainage and preparing the deck for waterproofing and surfacing to ultimately allow traffic to run on it. Also, the VRS and – as the bridge will be formally named - lettering will be fixed.
New Stoneleigh Road West
The new section of Stoneleigh Road opposite Brook Farm began construction in October and continued in this period. The section forms the tie in from the new Westley Bridge structure to the existing Stoneleigh Road tie in just beyond the access to Brook Farm.
In the previous months, the kerb drains were installed and the carriageway construction had taken place in part of the road. In December, the next stage of carriageway construction was undertaken which was to lay the base and binder tarmac layers. The final layer of carriageway is the surface course, which will be placed in 2023 not long before the road is opened to traffic.
In this month, the BPA high-pressure oil pipeline was excavated near to Westley Bridge. The pipe was then wrapped in order to protect it as a new section of carriageway was being built over it. It was then backfilled once the work was complete. Now this work has taken place and the progress made on Westley bridge, the road will continue to be constructed towards Westley Bridge in the new year.
Landscaping and Tree Planting
Throughout December, work took place to continue the extensive landscape planting to improve the visual appearance and biodiversity of the new road construction. This involved trimming the topsoil around the border of the site to the finished planting level, after which trees and hedgerows were planted to establish in time for the spring/summer growth season. This type of work will continue in the future as there is more landscaping work to be completed around the site.
New Dalehouse Lane Roundabout
This month, the new Dalehouse Lane Roundabout was surfaced with tarmac base layer partly with the with binder layer on top. This was completed in a few days with surfacing crews bringing hot bituminous material to site, which was then this was spread by the surfacing crews and compacted with the roller which levelled the surfacing to the correct required thickness.
The new surfacing tied in with the surfacing in the dual carriageway link road and also began into the new access arm to the farmer’s field. The surfacing stops at the arm connecting the new Dalehouse Lane road. Later in the new year, the existing Stoneleigh Road will be closed, allowing for the connection of the new Dalehouse Lane road and the new roundabout, which crosses the existing road.
New A46 Bridge
Following the installation of the bridge parapet, work commenced on preparing the bridge to be lifted into place – which is currently planned to be in late January 2023. The work included removing the edge temporary paraslim and removing any equipment off the deck.
On the abutments, base plates were installed ready for when the girders will be lifted in late January. These base plates are the point of contact of the bridge deck onto the abutments and take the weight of the deck so it is important they are installed correctly to make sure they meet the requirements of the design.
Exisiting A46 Brige
Following the closure of the bridge in late November, work has largely been completed and the road was reopened on Friday 23 December 2022. We thank you for your patience and apologise for any inconvenience caused during this time.
The work commenced by removing the existing road surfacing and waterproof layer to expose the concrete deck. The deck was then assessed for signs of damage and requirements for repairs identified. There were only minor repairs required and these were undertaken, after which, the deck was prepared for the waterproofing.
For the concrete repairs, the areas around the repair were cut out and finished off with a wire brush drill, which is to give a suitable surface for the new concrete repair grout to bond to. After this, the repair grout was cast in and then – after a suitable period of time – each repair was tested for its structural integrity and strength. Following this, the new layer of waterproofing was applied to the deck through a spray applied mechanism, after which it was tested to make sure there were no holes present which could let in water and also to check it had a suitable bond to the concrete deck. Then tarmac binder surfacing was laid on top of the concrete deck and temporary new road markings applied to follow the new alignment of the road.
Looking ahead in the first few months of 2023, work will continue on Westley Bridge to complete the finishes to the bridge deck in order for traffic to run over it. The surrounding area will also be built up so the carriageway construction can take place, in order to link to the new roundabout and Stoneleigh Road West.
Preparation for the A46 bridge lift will continue, with the intention to move it in late January during a weekend closure.
Work will also take place at various points to tie in the new construction to the existing roads – most notably on Dalehouse Lane and Stoneleigh Road West. This will result in changes to the traffic flow through the site and it is planned to have closures of Stoneleigh Road West outside of Brook Farm and Dalehouse Lane (although not at the same time) to allow this to happen. Diversion routes will be implemented and in effect for all closures.