Press release

Damaged M20 footbridge to be removed this weekend

Work to remove a footbridge which was damaged in a serious incident on the M20 in Kent will take place this weekend (2 to 5 September), Highways England announced today.

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A section of the pedestrian bridge over the motorway near junction 3 (the interchange with the M26) collapsed after it was struck by a digger being transported by a lorry last weekend.

A complex operation was carried out to remove the collapsed section from the scene at the weekend, and the road was reopened the day after the incident. Now work to remove the remaining section will begin.

The coastbound M20 will be closed between junctions 1 and 4 and Londonbound between junctions 4 and 2, from 8pm on Friday until 6am on Monday. The coastbound M26 will also be closed from the M25 junction 5.

The remaining structure, which is being constantly monitored, is structurally sound and safe for traffic to pass underneath with a temporary 50mph speed limit will remain in place.

Highways England’s Chief Highway Engineer Catherine Brookes said:

Safety remains Highways England’s top priority. We worked hard last weekend to reopen the M20 as soon as it was safe to do so and I would like to thank drivers for their patience while we did this.

The remaining section of the bridge has been assessed and is safe for traffic to pass underneath with a temporary 50mph speed limit. We naturally need to remove it under safe controlled conditions this weekend. We will use the closures to carry out as much work as possible, including barrier repairs, resurfacing and litter picking. We will start planning the replacement in due course.

There will be around 100 people working around the clock this weekend to safely remove the remaining section of the footbridge.

The approximate timeline of events for this weekend are:

Time Work Description
8pm to 10 pm Friday Set up closures Crews will setup the closures and diversion routes for both carriageways
From 10pm Friday Preparing the demolition Crews and plant will move onto the site and prepare for the demolition of the bridge, which includes removing the nearside barrier and concrete bridge protection barrier and applying a protective sand/matting on the M20
From 6am Saturday Demolition of the bridge The bridge will be removed using four pulverisers that will cut away at the bridge in small chunks
From 9pm Sunday Removing the 400 tonnes of concrete and reinforced steel Once the bridge has been cut down, crews will clear the rubble from the carriageway and verge using tipper trucks to take away the debris from the bridge, which will be recycled where possible
From 3am Monday Final inspections Once the carriageway has been cleared, the final inspection will be carried out to ensure it is safe to reopen the M20
By 6am Monday Removing closures Crews will remove the closures on both carriageways and the M26

The coastbound M20 will be closed between junction 1 (for the M25) and junction 4 (for the A228) and Londonbound M20 closed between junctions 4 and 2 for the work to be carried out. The coastbound M26 will be closed from the M25 junction 5. Clearly signed diversions will be in place via the A229 and M2/A2 to join the M25 at junction 2. Local traffic will be able to use the A20. Long distance traffic heading to and from east Kent is advised to consider using the A2/M2. Access to the A21 from the anti-clockwise M25 will also be closed with a diversion via junction 4.

The East Street footbridge, near the village of Addington, is a pedestrian footbridge constructed of reinforced concrete in 1971. Highways England is now considering the options for replacing the footbridge, which could take some time to complete.

General enquiries

Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.

Media enquiries

Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.

Published 2 September 2016