Key milestone as new Junction 25 bridge beams lifted into place

 

A multi-million pound project to upgrade M5 Junction 25 at Taunton reached a key milestone today with the lifting of the beams for a new 15.5m span bridge with a total width of 34m.

The Blackbrook Bridge will provide a new arm onto the Junction 25 roundabout, helping ease congestion by increasing the capacity and improving traffic flow.

The wider scheme is projected to improve journey times, reduce congestion, improve Park & Ride journey time reliability and create a more attractive gateway to Taunton, Yeovil and the A303 from the M5. The scheme will also unlock access into the proposed Nexus 25 employment site and support other planned growth across Taunton.

Somerset County Council’s contractor Alun Griffiths is using a 400-tonne, Tadano ATF 400G-6 mobile crane to lift 35 beams into place. Each beam measures 15.5m long, 720mm deep and 920m wide and weighs 17.3 tonnes and arrived in 18 lorry movements, which were carefully co-ordinated.

By the end of Wednesday, 24 beams are due to be in place with the operation due for completion on Thursday, weather permitting.

Councillor John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “The new Blackbrook Bridge is such a key part of this project – providing a new arm on the roundabout to increase capacity and improve traffic flow.

“It was a privilege to see the bridge beams being lifted into place – no mean feat when you consider the number of beams and many complications when working so close to one of Somerset’s busiest roads.

“The scheme is really starting to take shape and we’re really pleased with the progress so far.“

Karl Tucker, Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Improving connectivity across the Heart of the South West area is one of our major aims at the LEP. The upgrade of Junction 25 is an important part of our strategic transport investment using Growth Deal funding, and it’s one of our major investments having allocated £12.19m to the overall cost of £19.2m. It’s the main access point to Taunton from the M5 and provides a critical link to the second strategic route into the South West via the A358 and A303.

“I look forward to seeing this major project take shape, and the lifting of the bridge marks a major milestone.”

Simon Dunn, Operations Director for Alun Griffiths, said: “Griffiths are delighted to have achieved this key project milestone. An achievement that has resulted from the exceptional teamwork between Griffiths and Somerset County Council project teams who have both worked tirelessly to plan the works in a way that minimises disruption to the public.

“I would also like to thank those impacted by the works for their patience and look forward to the next key project milestone being achieved.”

The scheme is expected to cost around £19.2m with allocated funding from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Deal Fund, Somerset West & Taunton Council, Highways England, Somerset County Council and developer contributions.

Junction 25 currently experiences congestion in both peak hours, with queues frequently extending along the A358 in both directions.

This upgrade involves full signalisation and enlarging of the roundabout, widening of the eastern exit, a new roundabout to access the proposed Nexus 25 employment site, and safer pedestrian and cycling facilities.

Find out more about the scheme and sign up for e-newsletters at www.travelsomerset.co.uk/j25 and stay up to date by following @TravelSomerset on Twitter.

Representatives from Somerset County Council, Alun Griffiths, the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, Highways England, Somerset West and Taunton Council and Ruishton Parish Council on site at the Blackbrook Bridge lift

Funding

The M5 Junction 25 scheme is expected to cost around £19.2m with allocated funding from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Deal Fund, Somerset West and Taunton Council, Highways England, Somerset County Council and developer contributions.

The Heart of the South West LEP’s total Growth Deal is worth over £590m; including £239m from Government and £351m match funding. Over the lifetime of the Growth Deal: 2015 – 2021; HotSW LEP estimates the investment will create up to 26,930 new jobs and 18,242 new homes; over 59,000 people will be trained under this programme and over 30,000 businesses will have been supported.

“Local Growth Fund”

Local Enterprise Partnerships are playing a vital role in driving forward economic growth across the country, helping to build a country that works for everyone. That’s why by 2021 Government will have invested over £12bn through the Local Growth Fund, allowing LEPs to use their local knowledge to get all areas of the country firing on all cylinders.

Some additional key facts:

  • There are 38 LEPs covering the whole of England
  • The government has awarded £9.1bn in three rounds of Growth Deals to local areas to drive economic
  • LEPs are investing in a wide range of projects including transport, skills, business support, broadband, innovation and flood