Did you get stuck on the M1? It might have been because a thousand tonne bridge was being put into place.
The new Kegworth Bypass Bridge was successfully installed on the weekend starting Saturday, May 12, closing junctions 23A to junction 24.
During a weekend-long operation, a bridge weighing almost 1200 tonnes of concrete and steel was successfully launched across the M1, one of the busiest motorways in the UK.
The bridge, when opened in autumn 2018, will form part of the Kegworth Bypass and will reduce the amount of traffic and HGVs travelling through the historic village of Kegworth.
It forms part of the wider infrastructure improvements being made as part of SEGRO Logistics Park East Midlands Gateway, the 700-acre ‘inland port’ which combines links to the M1 and East Midlands Airport. It will also include a 50 acre rail freight terminal and is set to create around 7,000 jobs.
The project team from SEGRO, Roxhill and Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd worked closely with Highways England and the councils at Leicestershire, Nottingham and Derby as well as the emergency services and teams at East Midlands Airport to ensure the smooth running of the operation which saw the M1 close from junctions 23A to junction 24.
The size and scale of the bridge, along with the confines of the airport, required a specialist type of heavy plant transporter, known as a self-propelled modular transporter (SPMT), to move the bridge, rather than a traditional crane.
The SPMT is a platform vehicle with modules of four, five or six axle lines. The modules can be connected to multi-wheel transporters to move a load that is too big or too heavy for a truck or low-loader. It can rotate around its centre to make a 360° turn and can move sideways - ideal for moving the bridge into position.
The bridge was constructed in a modular fashion, on site next to the M1 with the steel sections being transported from Darlington in February.
In the weeks leading up to the launch of the bridge, alterations were made to the M1 which included filling in the central reservation and removing street furniture to enable a clear path for the bridge to be driven over the motorway by the SPMT.
In the late hours of Friday, May,11 the section of the motorway was closed and the diversion was put in place, the equipment moved into place and so began the start of the race against time to get the structure across the motorway.
Throughout Saturday, the bridge was manoeuvred over the motorway with engineers conducting precision checks and balances throughout the process with final adjustments made prior to the bridge deck landing on the bearings. Engineers conducted the safety checks and the M1 was handed back to Highways England to be reopened.
Andrew Pilsworth, SEGRO’s Business Unit Director, National Logistics, said:“The successful installation is the result of an extensive programme of planning and coordination with our partners, and we thank them for their ongoing collaboration and support.
"We would also like to thank all motorists who experienced delays to their journey over the weekend for their patience and understanding.
“The SEGRO Logistics Park East Midlands Gateway is a hugely important development, not just for the region’s economy, but the UK on the whole. The bridge is key part of the development and will bring great benefits to the local community and we’re looking forward to it opening to traffic later this year.”