Chartered Institute of Building Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Building


Images | O’Rourke and Murphy install modular bridge over M42

10 August 2020

A joint venture between Laing O’Rourke and J Murphy & Sons has installed a 65m modular bridge spanning the width of the M42 in just two days.

The 2,750t bridge near what will become HS2’s Interchange station near Solihull was carried along the motorway on a self-propelled modular transporter.

The 448-wheel transporter took just 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.

Laing O’Rourke subsidiary Expanded delivered the construction of both abutments and deck components using Laing O’Rourke’s modular construction strategy. Meanwhile, Expanded Structures and Cleveland Bridge assembled the bridge from 1,130 tonnes of steel plate girders and 1,610 tonnes of precast and in-situ concrete.

Laing O’Rourke’s Explore Manufacturing made the major structural components, including abutment shells and deck components at their factory in Worksop, Nottinghamshire.

Traditional construction methods would have required several weeks of lane closures on both carriageways, followed by additional weekend and overnight closures, HS2 claimed.

The bridge is part of a major remodelling of the regional road network to improve the circulation of traffic around the HS2 railway line and connect the existing road network to the new Interchange station.

HS2 CEO Mark Thurston watches the bridge installation

HS2 CEO Mark Thurston, was joined by Andy Street, West Midlands Mayor, to observe the bridge being moved into place.

Simon Russell, LMJV project director, said: “This is British construction, design and engineering innovation at its finest.

“Major components of the bridge and its supports were built offsite under safe, high quality conditions, then transported to site for assembly. Advanced digital capabilities allowed us to design all elements of the structure in a virtual world, before building it for real, and I am delighted that the work was completed safely and ahead of schedule”.

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.

“Constructing the bridge off site and using innovative engineering practices to install it over the motorway enabled us to carry out the work in just two days, keeping disruption to a minimum for road users.”

Further work in preparation for the arrival of HS2 is scheduled to take place later this year. A similar bridge placement will be installed over the A446, ahead of two more bridge structures being installed that will span the new high-speed railway line.


What a great advert for the construction industry.
Well done to everyone who was involved in this project.
Denis Lawler

Denis Lawler, 11 August 2020