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Thirty eight giant steel bridge beams will be lifted into place over the M1 near Dunstable during March and April as part of a £162 million road project to boost Bedfordshire’s economy.
Contractors working on behalf of Highways England will use a 1,000 tonne crane to lift the 52 metre long, 100 tonne bridge beams into place, which will act as foundations for the decks of two new bridges over the M1.
To carry out the work safely, the M1 will be closed between junctions 11 and 12 over several nights from 16 March to 9 April 2016.
Once the new beams have been installed, work can begin to construct decks for the new junction 11A interchange bridge and the new B579 Luton Road bridge.
Highways England senior project manager Anthony Johnson said:
These bridge beam lifts are an important milestone for the A5-M1 Link Road project, which will offer motorists better and safer journeys and help reduce congestion through Dunstable as well as unlock land for new homes and businesses.
We will be using a large crane to lift the beams into place and it is essential we close the M1, one direction at a time and overnight only, to minimise disruption and ensure maximum safety for road workers and road users.
The beam lifts will be carried out in several stages and either the northbound or the southbound M1 will be closed between 10pm and 6am the following morning as follows, weather permitting:
- 16, 17 and 18 March: M1 northbound closed for beam lift for the Luton Road bridge
- 21, 22 and 23 March: M1 southbound closed for beam lift for Luton Road bridge
- 30, 31 March and 1 April: M1 southbound closed for beam lift for the junction 11A bridge
- 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 April: M1 northbound closed for beam lift and to start building the bridge deck for the junction 11A bridge
- 9 April: M1 southbound closed to start building the bridge deck for the junction 11A bridge
During the M1 carriageway closures, there will be a clearly signed diversion to direct traffic via the A505, A5 and A5120. There will also be lane closures on the M1 in the opposite direction to the carriageway closures for safety reasons.
There will be no beam lift work during the Easter weekend but the existing hard shoulder closures will remain in place in both directions for safety reasons. Detailed and updated information about the closures will be published every Friday in the East planned roadworks weekly summary on Highways England’s website.
The A5-M1 Link project, a new, 2.8 mile dual carriageway to improve the east-west connection between the A5 and M1, north of Dunstable, will help reduce congestion through Dunstable town centre, offering motorists better journey time reliability and safer journeys.
The £162.1m, award winning project includes the building of a completely new dualled road, 3 new junctions including a new motorway junction, and 6 new bridges.
Delivering the scheme will unlock up to 40 hectares of land for businesses and provide the infrastructure for 7,000 homes to be built to the north of Houghton Regis. They will also provide better access to the M1 and reduce congestion in Dunstable.
Construction milestones achieved so far on the A5-M1 link include starting work on the layout for the new M1 junction 11A, with new roundabouts and bridges, as well as the rebuilding of the B579 Luton Road East and West to align it with junction 11A. Work on the link road itself has progressed well too, with drainage, fencing and some of the foundations and surfacing completed so far. And work on the new A5 roundabout has started too.
For the latest information and to register for updates about the A5-M1 Link scheme, visit the scheme page or call the Highways England Customer Contact Centre on 0300 123 5000.
You can also watch a video simulation of the scheme.
Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.
Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.