Highways England release video of bridge demolition

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Highways England has released footage of the demolition of a bridge over the A38 near Plymouth.

The demolition of the old Merafield Bridge at Plympton took place overnight on Saturday, signalling the final phase of the £6.3M maintenance project on the A38.

The bridge was in need of replacing due to suffering from alkali silica reaction, commonly known in the construction industry as ‘concrete cancer’.

Around 50kg of explosives were used along 278 drilled locations centred on the supporting piers and the abutments at each end of the structure.

As some segments of the old bridge were not fully broken up during the demolition work continued into Sunday to break up and remove the remaining parts.

Highways England South West Regional Director, Andrew Page-Dove commented: “This was a big project that needed extensive planning to ensure traffic around Plymouth was kept flowing smoothly and the vital A38 transport link between Devon, Plymouth and South East Cornwall was maintained.

“We worked very closely with Plymouth City Council, the Plymouth and Devon Chamber of Commerce and local businesses to ensure we got the traffic management right and we are very grateful for all the support we’ve received.”

Two weeks ago, a new bridge that was built alongside the old one was opened.

The new structure is 80m long, 11m wide and consists of 2,503 tonnes of concrete and 401 tonnes of steel.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “It’s vital that we replace out-of-date infrastructure so we can keep traffic moving and I am pleased Highways England has delivered this new bridge over the A38 on time and on budget.

“As well as tackling congestion, our investment in England’s motorways and major A-roads is about keeping communities connected through projects like this.”

The scheme is due to be fully complete by July meaning that the region shouldn’t be affected during the busy holiday season.

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