Roads roundup

The Aston Expressway needs £26M of work to tackle concrete chloride attack problems according to Birmingham City Council. A new report by the authority warns that Birmingham could be affected like London when the Hammersmith flyover was closed for emergency structural repairs. The report says” Without action to maintain the viaduct, the risk of weight restrictions and collapse of the viaduct is considerable.

Parsons Brinckerhoff has won a contract to undertake national road traffic census counts for the Government, almost doubling the company’s previous activity in the area. It will now be managing 1500 people and undertaking more than 6000 traffic count surveys a year.

Department for Transport has given the green light for the Highways Agency to widen more of the A1 Western Bypass at Gateshead. This will see 6.4km of the A1 widened to three lanes in both directions – an additional 4.8km to what was previously planned. The extension has been made possible through £19M savings identified in the design phase of the original scheme.

Plans to hang giant advertising banners from the top of the Forth Road Bridge to help fund its 50th anniversary celebrations have been abandoned. The 20m wide promotions would have remained in place for up to a year and prompted anger from heritage groups when bridge officials revealed the scheme last year.

Proposals to build a road tunnel under Stonehenge could be revived as the Government looks to ease road bottlenecks. A study to be completed this summer will consider options for easing congestion on the A303 at the world heritage site. Plans for a 2km road tunnel beneath the site have been proposed before but were dropped in 2007 due to the estimated £470M cost. Final proposals are due in the Autumn Statement.

report just released by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) shows that 1 in 10 bridges in the United States is structurally deficient and in need of repair. Total number at risk in 2013 was 63,207 bridges measure a total of 2,400km in length, the report said. Pennsylvania, Iowa, Missouri and California had the most structurally deficient bridges.

Skanska Balfour Beatty – Connect Plus –  has opened England’s first section of all lane running motorway on the M25 between junctions 23 and 25 in Hertfordshire. Hard shoulder running and variable speed limits have been trialled elsewhere in the country but this is the first time all the elements have been combined into an all lane running smart motorway.

Road Surface Treatments Association is calling for a fundamental rethink of local road funding following release of the latest Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey which revealed that the cost of restoring the road network has risen to £12bn. This is an increase of £1.5bn from last year and is believed to be due to the impact of this winter’s record rainfall and flooding.  Government has announced an extra £340M for road repairs. Howard Robinson, RSTA chief executive said: “The odd funding announcement here and there does little to address the real problem which is the need for a fundamental rethink of funding availability that sees local authorities having budgets that enable long-term, cost-effective road maintenance rather than short-term expensive patch-ups”.

Work is set to start on the A47 Postwick junction in Norwich at the end of this month, after the Department for Transport released the £19M needed for the project. The scheme, which is crucial to the Norwich Northern Distributor Road, is known as the Postwick Hub and is set to bring homes and businesses to the area east of the city.