Saddlebow bridge repairs in King’s Lynn are ‘on schedule’, officials say
Repair work to the bridges on the Saddlebow Interchange in Lynn is currently on schedule to be completed by the end of March, officials have said.
The works to the bridges over the A47 started in late October and have seen parts of the main highway closed while the maintenance has been carried out.
Highways England and Graham Construction officials met with councillors, business representatives and members of the media on Tuesday to discuss the progress of the repairs.
A spokesman for Graham Construction said the majority of the work completed up until this point has been demolition, and the next phase of work will see the new beams installed.
He said the company was hoping to lift the beams into place this weekend.
“If it all goes well we should have two beams to reassemble the bridge in the next few weeks,” he added.
“Instead of seeing demolition, people will start seeing the bridge coming into the place again.”
He said it is hoped that the deck slabs and the concrete work will be completed by the end of February before the bridges are weather-proofed.
The project had been criticised by some in the weeks after it first began, with claims that not enough work was being done.
But the Graham Construction spokesman said: “Most of the work can’t actually be seen, so often members of the public can’t see anything but actually there’s quite a lot of activity.”
He said there had been reports of traffic building up due to “rubbernecking”, as drivers stop in an attempt to see what is happening with the work.
This is despite boards being put up to discourage this type of behaviour, he added.
The spokesman said the possibility of temporary traffic lights at the Pullover roundabout had been looked at, but it was decided that this measure would not ease congestion.
The project has included a number of large-scale operations, such as two 350 tonne cranes which were used to lift the old beams off of the bridges.
Thousands of litres of water were used through a hydrodemolition procedure to break down the concrete.
The spokesman said, on average, there are about 15 people working on the bridge at one time, each working a 12-hour shift.
He said this equates to around 375 ‘man-hours’ per shift.
There will be another four weekends of full closures of the A47 at Saddlebow before the works finish, meaning that motorists will be diverted via the slip roads.
The spokesman said it is anticipated that the diversions will be put in place this weekend and next.
The work is due to finish on March 29.