Press release

Work on £6.4 million A38 bridge replacement scheme at Plympton starts this autumn

Highways England is to begin a £6.4 million project to replace Merafield Bridge on the A38 at Plympton this autumn.

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The new concrete bridge will be 80 metres long, 11.3 metres wide and made of 2,503 tonnes of concrete and 401 tonnes of steel. It will be constructed alongside the old bridge.

Building the new structure will ensure the A38 and Merafield Road stays open to traffic for many years to come.

Once the new bridge is opened to traffic, the old structure will be demolished.

To avoid the summer holidays, work will begin on Wednesday 9 September, and continue until the summer of 2016.

Julian Strong said:

This is a big project. We have carried out extensive planning and worked very closely with our stakeholders, including Plymouth City Council, the Plymouth and Devon Chamber of Commerce and local businesses.

We know there may be some concerns about the impact on traffic, but we will work hard to keep disruption to a minimum and will install the new bridge as quickly as we can.

The good news is that the extensive design work means we will keep three narrow lanes open in both directions for most of the time and access to Merafield Road will be largely unaffected.

Plymouth City Council Leader Tudor Evans said:

We are pleased that Highways England has considered the views of the Council and other stakeholders in planning for these works. It is essential that the Merafield Road bridge is replaced to protect the long term future of this vital link but it is also crucial that disruption is kept to a minimum.

Construction work will normally be carried out during the day. Occasional overnight work will be necessary when the new bridge sections are lifted into place but the noise levels will be kept to an absolute minimum.

The roadworks have been designed to minimise disruption to the A38. A contraflow system will be implemented for some phases of the work. During contraflow phases narrow lanes will be put in place with a temporary speed limit of 50 mph for the safety of road users and our road workers. Contraflows will be removed from the A38 when they are not necessary. Further details on the timings of contraflow phases will be published on the Highways England website prior to work starting.

Cyclists will be provided with a dedicated diversion route that will be publicised in advance of work starting and will be fully signed.

There will be minimal restrictions on Merafield Road as traffic will use the old bridge until the new bridge is ready. A small number of lane closures and traffic signal control will help us to switch traffic from the old bridge to the new one when the time comes.

Impact from those working on the construction site will be minimised by staggering deliveries and creating an unloading area within our site compound to avoid disruption to Merafield Road users.

Full details of different stages of the work will be publicised before and during the scheme. To keep up to date visit the project page

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 17 August 2015