Drivers warned of months of disruption as M48 Severn Bridge undergoes essential maintenance
Drivers using the M48 Severn Bridge could face several months of disruption as the UK Government’s National Highways begin a programme of cable inspections.
Corrosion was first found in the cables in 2006 and as a result cables are opened up and inspected every five years to ensure the levels have not increased.
The inspection works will see the closure of one lane westbound from the 22 June and one eastbound starting from July.
Due to the lane closures all vehicles over 2.9m wide will be prohibited from using the M48 Severn Bridge, and the bridge will also be closed totally over three weekends to enable the lifting of the inspection gantries to a high level on the suspension cable.
The first full closure is planned for the weekend of 25 June, with motorists being diverted across the M4 Prince of Wales Bridge.
To minimise disruption, additional maintenance work will take place during the closures, including the refurbishment and maintenance of some bridge expansion joints, repairs to the road surface and blasting and painting of parapets.
National Highways says it expects the work on the bridge to last for around eight months.
National Highways project manager Chris Pope said: “The inspections are vital to allow us to understand the current condition of the suspension cables and confirm that the measures that we implemented over the last 15 years have been effective in ensuring the long-term viability of the bridge and the safety of its users.
“We understand this work may cause some inconvenience and disruption, but we will make every effort to ensure the impact on drivers is kept to a minimum.
“We are working in conjunction with the Welsh Government and its South Wales Trunk Road Agency to ensure minimum disruption during the closures and avoiding any major events on either side of the bridge.”
Since the corrosion was detected on the bridge, which opened in 1966, a number of preventative measures have been introduced to protect the cables, including weight restrictions on lane 2 in both directions, acoustic monitors to identify any wire breaks and dehumidification on the cables.
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