ICE South East England hails major project milestone as M4 bridge beams lifted into place at Blackboy Roundabout

ICE South East England welcomed a significant step in the completion of the Shinfield Eastern Relief Road (ERR) scheme last week as the steel beams for a major new bridge were lifted into place.

The steel beams are lifted into place.
The steel beams are lifted into place.

The installation of the steel beams for a major new bridge in Shinfield were lifted into place last week (Monday 30th November 2015), marking a step towards the completion of the project. The achievement was welcomed by ICE Thames Valley Chair Alan Hayes as a "significant milestone".

Installed between the 30th November and the 2nd December, the 12 No., 43m long weathering steel beams were lifted onto the recently completed abutments. The beams were lifted as braced pairs, with a maximum lift weight of 68 Tonnes using a 1000 Tonne crane. For three nights, 2No. braced pairs per night were placed during a full closure of the M4 motorway between 21:30 and 06:00.

The new bridge over the M4 is part of the ERR scheme being constructed by HOCHTIEF (UK) Construction on behalf of developer, University of Reading. The bridge will have a single span of approximately 43m and carry six traffic lanes. It will link the Black Boy Roundabout to the north of the M4, with a new three arm signal-controlled junction to the south.

The ERR will be a single, 7.3m wide, carriageway road running eastwards in an arc from the new bridge over the M4. It will pass to the north of a small reservoir, to a new roundabout allowing access to the future Thames Valley Science Park (TVSP). From the TVSP roundabout the relief road will continue southwards crossing Cutbush Lane, to a new roundabout junction with the A327 Arborfield Road, east of Parrot Farm.

ICE Thames Valley Chair Alan Hayes said: "This scheme is a fantastic example of civil engineering, showing how the industry can provide the connectivity required for new developments, like the Thames Valley Science Park. I would like to congratulate all those involved in reaching this significant milestone and look forward to following the progress of the scheme going forward".