Drivers using the M40/M42 interchange received an early Christmas present from National Highways thanks to safety enhancements at the interchange being completed ahead of schedule.
The scheme, which has seen around 5.5 miles (8.8km) of steel central reservation barrier replaced with concrete, new drainage installed, and lighting replaced, was originally due to be completed in spring 2024.
While the majority of daytime traffic management will be removed by the end of this week, overnight restrictions will be in place until the scheme is completed in time for the Christmas getaway.
The early finish is down to a number of factors including identifying an innovative new precast concrete barrier on the market that can be laid faster than other types of concrete barrier installations.
The scheme’s delivery partner bmJV (Morgan Sindall Infrastructure and BAM Nuttall) worked with supplier Hardstaff Barriers to develop the product for this project which has a different foundation design that allows a quicker installation process and eliminates some of the time-consuming post-installation operations required for other barriers.
Contractors also found that the existing drainage in the central reservation required less significant upgrades than was originally thought. Furthermore, the project team worked closely with other road schemes in the area and local authorities to plan closures and diversions without delaying each other’s work.
National Highways Project Sponsor Nick Wells said: “All these factors have combined for the good of the road user at this busy gateway to the West Midlands. It’s been a great collaborative piece of work and we are delighted to be completing these improvements so far ahead of schedule.
“Road users will soon benefit from the range of measures implemented on this scheme which is part of a wider programme of work to further enhance safety on existing dynamic hard shoulder motorways.”
Many of the M40/M42 scheme’s contractors will now move further north on the M42 to deliver similar safety improvements using the same construction techniques and materials.