Major Bristol M4 and M5 works near completion ahead of Easter holidays

Major works to upgrade the M4 and M5 are nearing completion just in time for the Easter holidays. For more than 14 months, National Highways has been upgrading a six-mile section of motorway around the Almondsbury interchange to further improve driver safety. The work, on the M4 between junctions 19 and 20 for Bristol and on the M5 between junctions 16 and 17 at Cribbs Causeway, included upgrading a four-mile section of existing steel barrier to concrete in the central reservation of the M4 around the Almondsbury interchange.

National Highways say they used concrete barriers because they are stronger than metal ones and "significantly reduce" the risk of vehicles crossing over from one carriageway to another. The concrete barriers would also improve safety and reduce the likelihood of incident-related congestion. These concrete barriers are maintenance-free and will last twice as long as normal metal barriers, with fewer closures required for routine repairs.

Other works include building three new emergency areas on the M5, upgrading traffic signs to provide better information for drivers, drainage work and renewing lighting. Nick Wells, who is overseeing the upgrades for National Highways, said: "Safety is our number one priority and we're delighted to be approaching completion on these improvement works. "Upgrading these barriers will improve journeys and significantly reduce the risk of vehicles crossing over from one carriageway to another, improving safety and reducing the duration of incident-related congestion.

"Road users will soon benefit from the range of measures implemented on this scheme which is part of a wider programme of work to further enhance safety on existing dynamic hard shoulder motorways." The scheme is being delivered by SMP Alliance for National Highways. Darren Lindsay, SMP Alliance's M4/M5 Project Manager with on-site assembly partner Balfour Beatty, said: "We are thrilled to see the opening of the improved M4 ahead of the busy Easter weekend.

"Working closely with National Highways, SMP Alliance's team of collaborative experts worked tirelessly to efficiently deliver safety enhancements across this stretch of the motorway, including upgrades to the central reserve drainage system, barrier and lighting."

Over the past 14 months, a six-mile section of motorway around the Almondsbury interchange has been upgraded to further improve driver safety.

The M4/M5 Interchange is a dynamic hard shoulder section of the motorway, which means the hard shoulder is used as a traffic lane at busy times. Maintenance works to refurbish two bridges between junctions 15 for Almondsbury and 16 for Patchway on the M5 will continue until the summer. Traffic restrictions will remain in place northbound between junctions 17 to 16.

The bridges on the M5 are more than 50 years old and need waterproofing, surfacing, expansion joints and repairs to the concrete to maintain them for the long term.

To avoid another 12 months of roadworks, the refurbishment work was scheduled at the same time as the safety enhancement works, ensuring that any disruption for motorists was kept to a minimum and not duplicated.


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