Pre-cast concrete helps Highways England and partners save millions and minimise disruption


27 Jul 2021

Pre-cast concrete helps Highways England and partners save millions and minimise disruption

Our engineers have come up with an ingenious solution that will save millions of pounds and cut 12 months off the construction time of a new congestion-busting scheme.

We're using 29 pre-cast pieces that will act as both bridge supports and eventually a subway at M4 junction 15. The solution avoids the need to demolish a bridge on the A419, approaching the junction from the north, letting work continue while the road remains open above.

Installed at Day House Lane, the supports have been surrounded by concrete, providing stability for the road above and allowing the area below to eventually be used by pedestrians.

The work is part of a multi-million-pound scheme which will tackle congestion and help unlock thousands of new homes in Swindon – with the dedicated London-bound slip road joining the M4 set to open in October.

Mark Fox, South West Head of Scheme Delivery for Highways England, said:

“Our roads are vital and these improvements at junction 15 of the M4 will ultimately improve journeys and unlock local economic growth.

“The installation of pre-cast concrete sections has meant not only a saving of millions of pounds, but also drastically reduced disruption to motorists in the area, which is something that we always strive for.

“As the scheme progresses, we will make every effort to ensure that the impact on the local community is kept to an absolute minimum, and we will communicate any changes via roadside signage.”

Unlocking development through Designated Funds

For the M4 junction 15 scheme, we've invested £5 million from our Growth and Housing Designated Fund, which supports economic growth, facilitates employment opportunities and enables housing development across the country.

This is being jointly funded by:

  • Swindon Borough Council (£4.8m)
  • Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP) (£3m)
  • Persimmon and Redrow (£4.35m).

The upgrade follows the start of two major Swindon Borough Council schemes – the Wichelstowe underpass project further west near M4 junction 16, and improvement work at the White Hart junction, a vital link between the A419 and A420.

Swindon Borough Council’s £4.8m investment will complement more than £72.5m in road improvements at the nearby New Eastern Villages development. 

Councillor Gary Sumner, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Strategic Infrastructure, Transport and Planning, said:

“The upgrades to Junction 15 of the M4 are absolutely crucial as they will strengthen our excellent transport links benefitting not just businesses already based here, but also new employers who are looking to relocate to a fantastic location along the M4 corridor.

“We are investing more than £100 million in Swindon’s road network to future proof it for years to come. The new and improved junction will have extra capacity and it has been great to see the new dedicated lane for London-bound traffic take shape as that will make a tremendous difference to motorists.

“The new culvert under the A419 has also transformed Day House Lane into a ‘green route’ which will allow pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders to use the new route from Badbury and Liddington to get to Coate Water.”

Paddy Bradley, CEO of the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said:

“It is encouraging to see that the work on the M4 Junction 15 is progressing to the ultimate benefit of residents, businesses and visitors.

“This scheme, supported by the SWLEP’s Local Growth Fund, will support sustainable economic growth in Swindon and is of significant strategic importance to the wider area.

“It is great to see these infrastructure improvements continuing efficiently despite the challenges the team have faced in the light of Covid-19.”

Our Growth and Housing Designated Fund has been used to match-fund infrastructure projects to unlock developments around the country.

We have approved contributions to 28 projects at a total cost of £94.8 million. This investment has in turn attracted up to £129 million in other public contributions and £102 million in private match funding and is anticipated to deliver up to 1.74 million square metres of commercial floor space, 44,000 homes and 45,000 jobs over the lifetime of the developments.

To date the specialist fund has made huge improvements and brought benefits to local communities, unlocking homes and jobs in Exeter and Taunton elsewhere in the South West, as well as Darlington, Harrogate, Scunthorpe, Grantham, Warrington, Derby, Oldham, Northampton, Durham, Daventry, Leicester and Southampton.