M48 Severn Bridge suspension cable inspections

An essential programme of work on the M48 Severn Bridge to carry out inspections of the suspension cables and tackle corrosion.

Start date June 2022
End date TBC
Cost TBC

Latest updates

  • 29 June 2022

    Second weekend closure for M48 Severn Bridge

    The M48 Severn Bridge is going to be fully closed again this weekend. Unfortunately, weather conditions last weekend meant our teams couldn’t complete all the necessary works to lift the high level gantries into place on the support trestles, as it wouldn’t have been safe to do so.

    The team did however make some good progress, including the installation of gantry support trestles and temporary barriers on the westbound carriageway, removal of redundant electrical cables on the suspension cable at areas critical to the project and removal of lighting columns in close proximity to the gantry access platforms.

    The M48 Severn Bridge will be fully closed from 7pm on Friday 1 July right through to 6am on Monday 4 July – weather conditions depending – to enable the lifting of the inspection gantry to a high level on the suspension cable.

    For the duration of the weekend closure, diversion routes will be in place across the M4 Second Severn Crossing. The westbound footway and cycle path will remain open during the closure.

    Caption: National Highways’ essential maintenance will see cables opened up for inspection

    The current programme of closures on the M48 Severn Bridge for cable inspection works are detailed below:

    If we're planning to close either of bridges or we've got  maintenance work going on, you'll always be able to view our 7-day forward look here: https://nationalhighways.co.uk/travel-updates/the-severn-bridges/

  • 22 June 2022

    M48 Severn Bridge set for weekend closure

    The M48 Severn Bridge will be closed to all traffic this weekend (25 and 26 June) for the first stage of works to inspect the suspension cable and monitor corrosion.

    The bridge will be closed from 7pm on Friday 24 June to 6am on Monday 27 June – weather conditions depending – to enable the lifting of an inspection gantry to a high level on the suspension cable.

    While the bridge is closed, the eastbound side cycle and pedestrian path will remain open at all times. We may need to ask path users to wait for a few minutes at certain times over the weekend for safety reasons, so we thank you in advance for your patience.

    Chris Pope, Project Manager for National Highways, said: “The inspections are vital to allow us to understand the current condition of the suspension cables and confirm that the measures that we implemented over the last 15 years have been effective in ensuring the long-term viability of the bridge and the safety of its users.

    “We have been working in conjunction with our contractor Amey, and the weekend closures have been planned to avoid any major events both sides of the bridge.

    “Agreed diversion routes are in place and we are not envisaging a major impact on our road users.”

    Caption: National Highways’ essential maintenance will see cables opened up for inspection

    To carry out these cable inspections and to ensure the safety of both the public and workforce, long-term lane closures will be put in place, with the westbound closure put in place this week.

    The inspection works will involve the closure of one lane westbound from the 22 June and one eastbound starting from July, with the works lasting for around eight months.

    During the period of lane closures, vehicles over 2.9 metres wide will be prohibited from using the M48 Severn Bridge, and the bridge will also be closed totally over three weekends to enable the lifting of the inspection gantries to a high level on the suspension cable.   

    To minimise any future disruption, maintenance work will also be undertaken during the closures, including refurbishment and maintenance of many bridge expansion joints, carriageway surfacing repairs, reinstatement of some under bridge gantry bogies and wheels, sweeping and litter picking, blasting and painting of parapets and lighting column bases, weld repairs, carriageway inspections, and gulley and drain cleaning. 

    For the duration of the weekend closure, diversion routes will be in place across the M4 Second Severn Crossing.

    Chris added: “We understand this work may cause some inconvenience and disruption, but we are making every effort to ensure the impact on drivers is kept to a minimum.

    “This will help us to keep the bridge safe to use for the long-term future.”

Project information

Overview

The M48 is one of the UK’s only parallel strand bridges, and there are very small spaces between the 5mm wires that form the bridge cable that allowed moisture to enter and cause corrosion. The corrosion was found in 2006 and measures have been undertaken to minimize any further corrosion and monitor the cables.

As part of this, the 511mm diameter main cable cables are opened up and inspected every five years to ensure the levels of corrosion have not increased.

Inspecting several sections of the two main suspension cables as part of routine investigations will ensure the bridge remains safe for years to come.

Documents

Traffic information

Information about scheduled roadworks and events on our motorways and major roads.

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