DELAYS IN the construction of a complex concrete 'land bridge' have forced the Highways Agency to reschedule the opening of the £12M A21 Lamberhurst bypass in Kent.
Main contractor May Gurney was hoping to open the 2.5km bypass this autumn, well ahead of the official target date of 31 March 2005. But the knock-on effects of overruns on shuttering and steelfixing on the bridge mean the opening can be no earlier than March 2005.
Agency project sponsor Graham Link said the location of the bridge - near the terminal roundabout at the bypass's southern end - meant carriageway construction and drainage works through to the roundabout were not complete before winter bad weather came in.
'There were no real problems with the bridge, ' Link added.
The final design of the land bridge featured a slab with a maximum width of 43m spanning just 30m. In plan the slab curves inwards towards the centre; in elevation it is arched.
This double curvature put unusual demands on the erection of the timber shuttering and the fixing of the complex steel reinforcement to the slab, which is up to 2m deep. In places there are six layers of 32mm diameter bars, each one different.