Since 2021, we’ve been working on National Highways’ £282 million improvement project at junction 6 of the M42 motorway. The project is designed to increase capacity and reduce congestion, improve access to Birmingham Airport and other key businesses and improve access for cyclists and walkers.
Located to the east of Birmingham, near Solihull, the scheme was highlighted in the government’s 2014 Road Investment Strategy as an important junction lying in an area of dynamic growth. Development Consent for the scheme was given in May 2020 and the main construction works started early 2021.
The improvements will support economic growth in the area where investment has been constrained by poor journey times and traffic congestion.
The works include:
- a new 2.4km dual carriageway link road
- a new junction on the M42 motorway, Junction 5A
- a new pedestrian footbridge over the A45
- demolition of the existing Solihull Road bridge and construction of a new replacement bridge
- realignment of the existing local road network.
Skanska is leading the project, working in close collaboration with design partner Mott MacDonald and customer National Highways.
Paving the way for net zero roads
A Skanska and National Highways low carbon concrete trial, carried out on the project, is set to be extended to permanent roads.
On construction projects concrete can be one of the biggest causes of carbon emissions, which is why we’re really focused on tackling it. Working with National Composites Centre, Tarmac, Basalt Technologies and National Highways we carried out a trial on a low carbon reinforced concrete solution, on a temporary haul road. The results show that the solution led to a reduction of more than 50 per cent in carbon. It has also proven equally as resilient when compared to conventional reinforced concrete using steel.
We are now working collaboratively with National Highways and High Speed 2 (HS2) on the next phase. The plan is to trial the low carbon combination on a permanent road and capture all the data and analysis for future publication.
Improving local connections
The pedestrian footbridge over the A45 is a 64-metre span steel structure that provides a safe route for pedestrians and cyclists across the dual-carriageway below.
The bridge, manufactured by Skanska’s fabrications business, was fabricated off site and then installed on-site. This ensured better safety and quality outcomes and reduced activity alongside the live carriageway. Digital rehearsals were used to test and demonstrate the proposed programme to ensure minimum disruption to rail, road and air services in the vicinity. This time-lapse footage shows the bridge being installed.
Caring about people and communities
At Skanska we always look for ways to leave a lasting legacy and support sustainable
communities for generations to come. On this project our team have been focussed on ensuring local people and businesses benefit from the project through job opportunities, growth and environmental benefits.
Since the project started in 2021, we’ve recruited six women returning to work, 14 ex-military personnel and four ex-offenders with 13% of our workforce made up of apprentices or graduates.