M4 closing overnight for A432 bridge works

THE M4 is set to close tonight as part of work to replace the A432 Badminton Road bridge.

National Highways, which owns the bridge (pictured above) and is responsible for the replacement work, will close the motorway in both directions between the Hambrook and Tormarton junctions (19 and 18) from 9.30pm today until 6am tomorrow.

Drivers heading east are being diverted via the M32 onto the A4174 Avon Ring Road, the A420 between Warmley and Cold Ashton, then the A46 to re-join M4 at Tormarton, with westbound traffic diverted onto the same route in the opposite direction.

The closure is part of “investigations to determine utility connection points” as engineers work out how to reroute the cables and pipes which are currently carried by the bridge.

They are also carrying out “ecological mitigation” before vegetation clearance around the structure begins, having carried out surveys which found that dormice, a protected species, live on the site, which means the contractors needed a special licence from environment body Natural England.

Further closures are planned overnight on May 16 and June 13.

The bridge, which carried 16,000 vehicles a day on the A432 between Bristol and Yate, closed last July after engineers found “accelerated deterioration and cracking” in the concrete.

It meant motorists who travelled on Badminton Road between Downend and Frampton Cotterell had to find alternative routes, in part on narrow country roads.

‘On schedule’ for autumn demolition

In an update on its work National Highways said: “At present, we are on schedule to begin trenching works below the M4 around mid-June, with an anticipated demolition date of September/October, subject to coordination with utility providers and other authorities.

“The bridge will remain open to pedestrians and cyclists until demolition takes place.”

“Further overnight closures may be required before demolition of the structure.”