Watch: Timelapse and drone footage shows M42 bridge demolition by HS2 contractors

The demolition operation took 52 hours
The M42 was closed in both directions late Friday evening, February 9, and the workforce worked throughout the night to prepare the area for the demolition activities.The M42 was closed in both directions late Friday evening, February 9, and the workforce worked throughout the night to prepare the area for the demolition activities.
The M42 was closed in both directions late Friday evening, February 9, and the workforce worked throughout the night to prepare the area for the demolition activities.

This timelapse video shows how contractors working for HS2 removed a 4,000 tonne bridge over the M42 to make way for the construction of the new high speed line across the motorway near the Interchange Station construction site in Solihull.

A team of 20 demolition experts from Solihull-based firm Armac, working on behalf of HS2’s main works contractor in the Midlands, Balfour Beatty VINCI (BBV), carried out the demolition in a 52-hour operation.

Watch the video here.

The operation was coordinated in conjunction with National Highways, who were able to open the motorway section between Junctions 6 and 7 on Monday at 1.30am, which was three and a half hours earlier than planned, reducing disruption to road users.

The M42 was closed in both directions late Friday evening, February 9, and the workforce worked throughout the night to prepare the area for the demolition activities.

Starting at 7am on Saturday February 10, the demolition team used a 100 tonne excavator and a further seven 50 tonne demolition excavators to complete the operation, supplemented by numerous breaker and cruncher attachments. Six articulated dumper trucks transported the excavated material to a local stockpile where it will be crushed and reused on HS2’s haul roads and work sites.

Once the bridge was demolished at around 3pm on Saturday, the debris was removed, the matting taken away, carriageway cleaned, and central reservation and verge restraint systems reinstated, ready for the motorway to be re-opened at 1.30am on Monday February 12.

It is the second of two 4,000 tonne bridges in close proximity over the M42 which needed to be demolished so HS2 can build a new twin box structure, which will carry the high speed line over the motorway in the future. The operation by Armac to demolish the first bridge took place in August last year.

The original plan was to demolish the second bridge next year. However, due to two drivers on the motorway below recently striking the bridge, National Highways asked HS2 to demolish the bridge sooner because it had become unsafe.