Early Christmas present for motorists as our M40/M42 safety upgrade scheme completes ahead of schedule


13 Nov 2023

Our safety enhancement work to upgrade the central reservation barrier along the M40 and M42 near Birmingham will be complete this December, several months earlier than originally planned.

Early Christmas present for motorists as our M40/M42 safety upgrade scheme completes ahead of schedule

The project, delivered by the SMP Alliance - a National Highways-led enterprise - started in February this year. Since then, the Alliance delivery partners at bmJV have replaced more than five miles of steel barrier with a safer, more efficient concrete barrier.

Concrete barriers are much stronger than metal ones and significantly reduce the risk of vehicles crossing over from one carriageway to another, improving safety and reducing the duration of incident-related congestion. They are virtually maintenance free and will last twice as long as normal metal barriers, with far less need for closures for routine repairs.

The early finish is down to a number of factors including the use of an innovative new precast concrete barrier which can be laid faster than other types of concrete barrier. It has a different foundation design that allows a quicker installation process and eliminates some of the time-consuming post-installation operations required for other barriers.

Reflecting the collaborative nature of SMP Alliance, contributions towards the early completion of this scheme have been provided by all Alliance partners and the wider supplier network, including CR Civil Engineering, HW Martin (Traffic Management) and McCann. Together the contractors also found that the existing drainage in the central reservation required less significant upgrades than was originally thought. Furthermore, the project team worked closely with other road schemes in the area and local authorities to plan closures and diversions without delaying each other’s works.

M40/M42 interchange with new concrete barrier

Above: The new precast concrete barrier in the central reservation of the M42 between junction 3a (Umberslade) and 4 (Dorridge)

National Highways Project Sponsor Nick Wells said:

“All these factors have combined for the good of the road user at this busy gateway to the West Midlands. It’s been a great collaborative piece of work and we are delighted to be completing these improvements so far ahead of schedule.

“Road users will soon benefit from the range of measures implemented on this scheme which is part of a wider programme of work to further enhance safety.”

The team will now move on to carry out similar safety upgrades on the M42 between junctions 4 and 7 with some overnight closures in the area needed for environmental surveys over the coming weeks. Work will begin in January 2024 with completion planned in late summer 2024. We’ll provide updates via a dedicated scheme webpage shortly.

For more information about our M40/M42 upgrade, including a list of remaining closures, visit the scheme webpage by clicking here.