Roads Minister Andrew Jones officially opened a new £32m road bridge in Chelmsford, Essex on Wednesday 13 April, which will increase capacity and help deliver better journeys for drivers.
The new three lane A138 Chelmer Viaduct is 900 metres long and has been completed on time and on budget – and will help boost the local economy. It replaces the old two lane 1930s bridge which is now due to be demolished.
In total, around 1,800 tonnes of steel, worth over £3.6m and 104 beams were used to build the new viaduct, all of which were sourced in the UK.
This project is an important part of the government’s £15 billion roads investment programme which is delivering the most extensive improvement to roads since the 1970s.
The Chelmsford project, which started in March 2015, has involved the construction of a new viaduct, building three lanes of carriageway, a shared footway and cycleway, and a new footpath.
Roads Minister Andrew Jones said: “I am delighted that we have delivered this much needed new bridge with an extra lane which will help cut journey times for hard working people in Chelmsford and deliver economic growth.
“Our £15 billion investment in Britain’s roads is all about completing local projects like this which replace ageing infrastructure, and creates new capacity at the same time.”
Highways England Chief Highway Engineer Catherine Brookes, said: “Building a new viaduct and demolishing the old one demonstrates our commitment to improving the road network and helping to stimulate growth. The A138 Chelmer Road is a vital transport link and this newly delivered project will reduce congestion and make the route safer.”
Councillor Rodney L Bass, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Infrastructure added: “We are pleased to accept formal responsibility for the new viaduct over Baddow Meads and are very happy with how the project has progressed. Essex County Council has also been able to invest in improvements at the Army and Navy roundabout which are complementary.”
Leo Martin, Executive Director at GRAHAM Construction said: “We would like to recognise the success of the collaborative efforts made by GRAHAM, Highways England and the AECOM project teams, their stakeholders and also supply chain partners who have worked hard together to ensure this important milestone has been reached ahead of programme.”
The viaduct will be fully open to traffic this week, by 18 April, and will bring the benefits to road users. Around 48,000m3 of earth was moved and 10,500 square metres of surfacing was laid to complete the project.
After 18 April there will be some BT cable work, lighting and final joint work still to complete, which will involve minimal overnight lane closures. The demolition of the old viaduct is due to commence in the summer, with final completion expected this winter.