The Challenge:

Completing extensive concrete repairs, re-waterproofing and resurfacing of the A38M – the main link between the M6 ‘Spaghetti Junction’ and the centre of Birmingham – and to do this with minimum disruption to the travelling public and the Birmingham economy as possible.

The Solution:

To minimise disruption to the travelling public an innovative solution to close the entire junction for 58 hours at the weekend was devised. This unprecedented change to traditional delivery models meant the closure of all 12 slip roads at M6 junction 6 and the full closure of the A38(M) Aston Expressway.

This alternative solution offered considerable benefits to the travelling public and to Birmingham City Council, with weekday access maintained throughout the scheme; A timeframe of 7 weekends and 7 weeks network occupancy window was agreed with Birmingham City Council for the planned works. This was the basis for reverse engineering the scheme.

Traffic management was reviewed, identifying the maximum working window and innovative materials and working methods were used, agreeing departures with Highways England as required. Once the solution was agreed a far reaching communications strategy to keep customers and stakeholders informed was put in place.

The Impact:

This scheme epitomises the true benefits that can be achieved when a consistent, dedicated team work collaboratively to achieve common goals. It was delivered to time, within budget and met the objectives of all of the organisations involved. We communicated, we engaged and we worked together to deliver the best possible solution.

Key to the success of this project was the collaboration and engagement of all parties. Working closely with Highways England, Birmingham City Council, the Area 9 Delivery Community Partners and local stakeholders enabled us to identify and implement an optimal solution to deliver the works whilst maintaining essential weekday traffic flows.

Traditional phased delivery of this scheme would have required 28-30 weeks of narrow lanes and reduced capacity of this strategic route. It was delivered in 7 meticulously planned 58 hour closures, working safely within a small footprint and reopening on time following each closure.

" This has been a demanding phase, not only because of the unprecedented challenge of planning and then delivering on the full weekend closures of Gravelly Hill, but also due to the high network impact and the potential for negative media coverage. Working collaboratively as one team with effective planning and communication has been instrumental in achieving our common goal to successfully deliver the scheme. It is also noted that the challenge was met without having any detrimental impact on the quality of work delivered or the on the health and safety of the workforce and road users. "
Andy Butterfield Head of Service Delivery Highways England

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