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.

Go ahead has been given to widening to dual carriageway the A21 between Tonbridge and Pembury in Kent. Advance work could start in the Autumn, Department for Transport said. The £117M scheme (2010 prices) topped the DfT list of unfunded projects offering best value for money with a benefit cost ratio of 11. National Trust external affairs director Richard Hebbditch pointed out that the route would mean the loss of 22 acres of ancient woodland, one quarter of that lost with HS2 but in just 4km.

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.