Dualling of the A4440 Southern Link Road is one of the largest infrastructure projects to be undertaken in the county, but one of the most significant obstacles to widening the Southern Link Road was the Battenhall Railway Bridge. The bridge spans one of the busiest stretches of the road in county, just off the M5 motorway, carrying rail services from London into Worcester and Herefordshire.
The original bridge was not wide enough to span a full dual carriageway. To widen the road, it was necessary to either extend the existing bridge or demolish and replace it.
Award Winning Scheme
The innovative engineering behind the construction of this bridge has been recognised with a number of awards.
The project was a winner at the 2019 ICE West Midlands Civil Engineering Awards and won Best Large Project at the 2019 Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation West Midlands Awards. It has also been Highly Commended at the Rail Business Awards and most recently at The MJ Local Government Achievement Awards in the Highways Management category.
Planning the project
The existing rail bridge was built around 30 years ago. It was found to be in good condition with an expected life of many more decades. In theory, a new bridge span could be constructed just offline from the railway and road, then moved into position to extend the existing bridge.
With meticulous planning, the project team developed a way of securing the existing bridge while supporting ground was removed and a newly built bridge span, built onsite, was moved into position.
This animation as also shown as part of the communication plan to assist with the explanation to stakeholders and the wider public of the work involved in the scheme and, more importantly, why a key road needed to be closed.
The process is illustrated in this animation:
Before and during the works
In advance of the works, there were extensive communications with local residents, local businesses, road and rail users and the wider public.
More than 22,000 tonnes of soil were removed, 4000 person hours and 60 different pieces of significant machinery were needed to complete the bridge move.
Once moved into place, the new bridge was then fixed to the existing bridge and the area to the south is backfilled to make an embankment.
Specialist teams then carried out a trial lift of the bridge.On the evening of Thursday 24th May 2018, this section of the Southern Link Road was closed to traffic and final preparations began to move the new bridge.
See a time-lapse video of the works:
Bridge put in place
The bridge on the A4440 was moved into position on Sunday 27th May 2018 by a team of 180 engineers, marking another step closer to Worcestershire County Council reaching its aim of fully dualling the road from the M5 to Powick roundabout, Worcester.
The installation of the bridge followed months of work to get the area ready.
The train line reopened on Thursday 31 May 2018 morning and Crookbarrow Way between the Whittington and Norton roundabouts reopened - 36 hours ahead of schedule.