New research could transform future bridge construction


17 Oct 2023

A new National Highways trial explores environmentally friendly ways of reducing carbon footprint and costs

The trial will start shortly at the new Wisley Interchange, under construction as part of the M25 junction 10 improvement scheme.

We have contracted AtkinsRéalis to lead the Wisley bridge trial, in collaboration with Connect Plus Services, Balfour Beatty and Laing O’Rourke.

We'll be testing if less material can be used in the design, installation and maintenance of integral bridges.

Integral Bridges don't have expansion joints in their structure and are often used for small to medium size bridges.

An array of sensors will measure the amount of movement of an integral bridge under different temperatures. Over three years, National Highways, AtkinsRéalis and Cambridge University will analyse data gathered hourly by the sensors.

Computer model of the completed Wisley interchange
How the new Wisley interchange will look when completed

Through the trial, we'll test whether we can reduce embodied carbon and whole life cost of integral bridges while maintaining safety and construction standards.

Embodied carbon is the amount of carbon given off during construction. It includes:

  • the extraction of raw material
  • manufacturing and transporting products
  • disposing of old material

Roads Research Alliance

National Highways, AtkinsRéalis and Cambridge University are partners in the Roads Research Alliance programme (RRA).

This initiative launched one year ago to help define and develop a portfolio of innovative projects for the roads sector. It is leading a £14.5 million programme to foster innovation in the highways industry over the next five years.

Data from the integral bridge trial will be shared with the RRA.

Find out more about the Road Research Alliance and research at National Highways.

M25 junction 10 improvement

This improvements scheme will tackle congestion at the busiest section of the M25, which carries over 300,000 vehicles every day.

Eight new bridges are included in the scheme as well as:

  • an additional lane on the A3 in both directions from Ockham and Painshill junctions towards the M25
  • new and safer routes for cyclists, pedestrians and horse-riders
  • a larger roundabout with increased lane capacity.

Find out more about the M25 junction 10 improvement.