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27/02/2017
M5 J1-2 Oldbury Viaduct: Major Renewal Scheme

Highways England have started preparatory work for a major concrete repair and waterproofing scheme on the M5 Oldbury Viaduct between junctions 1 and 2, in advance of the main scheme which is planned to start after Easter 2017.

The M5 is one of the busiest routes in the country, carrying a mix of traffic through the Midlands and onwards to routes in the north and south. By maintaining this key corridor they are delivering a huge investment in Oldbury that will support economic growth locally and in the wider West Midlands. This supports their commitment to ensuring that the region’s roads are fit for now and for the future.

Intervention is required now to repair the damaged sections in order to prevent bigger challenges and further disruption in the future. Once complete, customers will benefit from a safer, more resilient route and enhanced driver experience.

To minimise impact around the Birmingham area Highways England have programmed this work now to maximise a window of opportunity before proposed work on other areas of the wider West Midlands, including HS2. They have collaborated with local authorities to consider their work programmes and suggestions for traffic management and agreed diversion routes.

Journey planning and disruption

This section of the M5 is particularly busy and is a commuter hub with traffic joining with the M6 and other roads into and out of Birmingham and other cities in the region. The local area around Oldbury and West Bromwich has many businesses, small and large and a number of leisure/shopping destinations. All rely on the road network to successfully function. They have therefore limited the period we are on site to the absolute minimum. Their experts have designed the traffic management to maintain access to the M5 and thereby limit the resulting congestion on the local roads.

Highways England will do everything possible to plan and manage our road works to keep traffic moving. However there will still be some disruption to the M5 and routes leading into or out of these junctions. They recommend that you plan ahead and allow extra time for your journeys. You may wish to consider using alternative routes and modes of transport where possible. If you use this route to commute it is also worth considering, where possible, car sharing or working from home.

For information on public transport, please visit www.networkwestmidlands.com 

Timeline

  • January 2017 – Preparatory work under overnight closures
  • March 2017 – We will hold Public Information Events in advance of main work starting
  • After Easter 2017 - Start of main work Traffic Management with a contraflow being ultimately implemented
  • Autumn 2018 - Target completion date

The scheme in detail

Through the West Midlands, various parts of the M5 are on elevated sections, or viaducts, constructed from concrete in the late 1960’s. As the number of vehicles has increased, so has the amount of maintenance necessary to keep this road safe and open to traffic. Oldbury Viaduct carries approximately 3km of the elevated sections of the M5 to the west of Birmingham between Junctions 1 and 2. The structure itself is safe, but we need to carry out essential repair work to the waterproofing on this section to ensure that drivers continue to have safe and reliable journeys. The structural integrity relies on a waterproofing system, which is hidden under the road surface and protects the steel bars reinforcing the concrete from corrosion.

They are currently carrying out preparatory work employing overnight lane closures and weekend overnight full closures of both the slip roads and the main carriageway.

Main work is planned to commence after Easter when we will start by removing the surfacing on the southbound carriageway to investigate the condition of the concrete underneath. At this stage we will know the level of repairs required and will be able to give an update on the programme. Once this is complete the damaged concrete will be repaired and a new waterproofing layer applied. This will then be repeated on the northbound carriageway.

To enable safe access to undertake this work Highways England will need to close one carriageway at a time. To keep this vital route open we will implement a contraflow system whereby both the northbound and southbound traffic runs on one side of the carriageway. This will allow us to keep two narrow lanes running in each direction.

The final phase will involve repairing and re-waterproofing the central reserve and installing a new concrete barrier to improve safety. This work will be undertaken with three narrow lanes in each direction. For the majority of the scheme the slip roads will remain open.

Further information

Scheme website: http://roads.highways.gov.uk/projects/m5-junction-1-to-2-oldbury-viaduct/ 

Check live traffic information before setting off at: www.trafficengland.com

For information on public transport, please visit: www.networkwestmidlands.com

For general enquires about the scheme you can also call the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.

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