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Disruption looms with M4/M5 widening work


WEST COUNTRY motorists face a miserable two years as the Highways Agency carries out four separate widening schemes on the M4 and M5 motorways around Bristol, officials warned this week.

Contractor Birse is to add climbing lanes under a single £32.2M contract. In total:

l2.5km will be added to the M4 eastbound at junction 18;

l1.9km to the M5 northbound at Hallen Hill between junction 18A and 17;

l3.1km at Tickenham Hill between 20 and 19;

land 3.3km to the M5 southbound at Naish Hill between junction 19 and 20.

All schemes are in the Highways Agency's Targeted Programme of Improvements (TPI).

Work is expected to start on the M4 eastbound diverge next February and M5 Hallen Hill in March.

These projects are anticipated to last six to eight months and overlap with the two other M5 schemes scheduled to start later next year, also taking between six and eight months.

The Agency has accelerated essential repairs to an expansion joint on the Avonmouth Bridge's northbound carriageway to minimise disruption caused by the widening work.

'We need the bridge in good shape prior to the TPI schemes.

But it is going to be pretty miserable, ' said Highways Agency principal bridge engineer Martin Lynch.

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