UPDATE: M20 and M26 to re-open ahead of schedule after more than 100 work around the clock to clear half demolished bridge
PUBLISHED: 12:52 04 September 2016 | UPDATED: 12:52 04 September 2016
Key motorways have been shut all weekend following smash - M20 should be fully reopen by Sunday night
Work on the M20 to remove the remaining section of a bridge half demolished last weekend, is ahead of schedule and will re-open ahead of schedule it was confirmed this afternoon (Sunday).
Highways England said more than 100 people have been working around the clock to allow the road to open earlier than the anticipated time tomorrow morning (Monday).
The M20 will fully reopen later today after the pedestrian footpath left split in two was finally removed. The other side had been hit by a lorry carrying a digger last weekend causing chaos for bank holiday traffic.
The agency says since Friday night more than 100 people, working some 4,200 man hours, have been involved in an operation to safely demolish and remove the structure.
To enable this to be done safely a section of the M20 had to be closed in both directions, as did the M26 which links the M20 to junction five of the M25. Work to remove those closures will start shortly and all will be removed by early evening. The M20 and M26 had originally been due to be reopened by 6am on Monday morning.
As well as safely removing the footbridge, Highways England took the opportunity to carry out routine maintenance including 10,000sq metres of resurfacing, around 5 miles of new surface – over double the normal amount laid during overnight closures.
Highways England chief highways engineer Catherine Brookes said: “We’re proud of what we have achieved and that we have been able to safely remove the remaining structure and re-open early. This is good news for drivers wishing to use the M20 and M26. To reduce further disruption for road users, we also took the opportunity while the motorway was closed to complete some other extra work.
“We would ask drivers to remain patient while we complete the reopening.”
Drivers are advised that the early reopening will require traffic to be stopped at some locations for the traffic management to be removed – it is anticipated that this will be around an hour on the anti-clockwise M25 to allow the M26 to be reopened. Although this will cause some delays it will provide drivers with the benefits of an open M26 sooner than planned.
Drivers are advised to plan their journeys and allow additional time if required.