Overnight work begins on M5 bridge
By Simon Hacker | 11th May 2023
Ongoing work on the fifty-year-old Bamfurlong Lane bridge, which crosses the motorway between junctions 10 and 11, will spell closure of north and southbound sections of the route – and the first session will begin from today.
And as well as having an impact on drivers, cyclists say that the scheme is badly thought out.
In order to inspect the bridge for its strength and safety, National Highways (NH) is overseeing the removal of concrete on the underside of the bridge deck to expose ducts and tendons. The work necessitates a three-mile closure of the M5, but the route will remain open during the day.
With sessions running from 8pm until 6am, NH warns that exact times may be subject to weather and traffic volumes.
The key dates are:
Thursday, May 11 to Friday, May 12.
M5 southbound, J10 to J11, overnight closure, with lane three northbound also closed.
To follow the diversion, leave the M5 at J10, follow the A4019 to the Arle roundabout, take the fourth exit to A4019 Coombe Hill. Follow the A38 to the Longford roundabout and take A40 before rejoining the M5 at J11.
Monday, May 15 to Thursday, May 18.
M5 northbound J11 to J10, overnight closure, with lane three southbound also closed.
To follow the diversion, leave the M5 at J11, follow the A40 to the Longford roundabout, then the A38 to Coombe Hill. Taking the A4019, rejoin the M5 at J10.
Meanwhile the Bamfurlong Lane bridge has been permanently closed since last November and is not scheduled for reopening before December 2023, with substantial work required.
An initial report from NH said some areas of the bridge had deteriorated significantly over the years, making it "a challenging site" to work on.
The extent of work needed, says NH, will depend upon the findings from current examination of the bridge.
The closure was criticised by the Cheltenham and Tewkesbury Cycling Campaign who said that it broke a link between Cheltenham and Staverton Airport and forced cyclists onto a dangerous route, including the "unlit and isolated" section along Pheasant Lane.
The group said: "We believe the decision to proceed with the full closure, rather than either provide at least a walking route, an escorted crossing during reasonable hours, or a temporary bridge, will have significant detriment to cycling accessibility and safety, particularly given the costs of making such provision in such a large scheme are not unreasonable. We have seen other schemes where National Highways did provide continuity, and we believe Gloucestershire deserves better."
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