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Surface defects persist on Avonmouth Bridge

RECURRING SURFACE defects on the Avonmouth Bridge are still baffling experts more than 12 months after completion of a controversial five year, £125M refurbishment and strengthening operation, NCE has learned.

Motorists on the M5 have been complaining about the rough ride on the resurfaced twin steel box girder crossing for some time, a government spokesman confirmed this week. He said that 'several localised surface defects' have been repaired since the refurbishment work was completed, and that another 'small section of the bridge surfacing requires attention'.

No-one is yet certain what is causing the recurring problem, the spokesman confirmed. An investigation is underway, but the spokesman was unable to comment on the irregular alignment of the central crash barrier, which has also attracted unfavourable attention.

Part of what was originally estimated to be a three year, £50M operation to widen the M5 between junctions 18 and 19, the refurbishment and strengthening of the 30 year old crossing has cost three times as much the original estimate. This was largely down to the box girders being in a much worse state than was obvious before the seven layers of internal paint were removed. Main contractor on the original project was Costain while Kvaerner Cleveland Bridge carried out the strengthening of the bridge girder.

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