Collett & Sons have delivered 120 steel bridge girders on behalf of Cleveland Bridge UK Ltd, from Darlington to the new M4 Smart Motorway between junction 3 and 12 in the South East of England.

The M4 J3 to J12 Smart Motorway Upgrade was set up by Highways England with the aim to reduce congestion, by adding an additional lane of traffic. However, to accommodate the major upgrade, 12 bridges were in need of demolition and replacement at various locations.

Starting in October 2019, Collett transported the first set of girders to Monkey Island bridge in Berkshire. Over the course of the 10-month project, the company delivered to 11 other bridge replacement sites, including Thames Bray, Datchet Road and Lake End. Collett’s provided a consistent transport service which was one of the key success criteria for the project and helped to ensure it was completed on schedule. 

In order to facilitate the unique requirements for each bridge replacement, Collett utilised their specialist fleet of trailers, specifically their triple-extendable flats, double bogey trailers, step trailers and low loaders to accommodate the wide variety of girder sizes. Ranging from 5.8 metres to 44.0 metres in length, and a maximum weight of 92 Tonnes, each of the 12 replacements proposed a new logistical challenge for Collett to overcome.

All the bridge girders were loaded at Cleveland Bridge’s factory in Darlington. To facilitate the move, Collett liaised with Durham Police ensuring an established escort service and prior warning and protection of all other road users, limiting the road-traffic congestion, and ensuring extensive public safety. All required loads were escorted along the A66M leading onto the A1M with police assistance, from there Collett utilised their pilot car fleet to escort each of the individual abnormal loads the 295 miles to site.

Richard Neath, Senior Project Manager at Cleveland Bridge said: “With the support of our delivery partner Collett & Sons Ltd, we were able to successfully transport over 120 loads to site. Many of the deliveries were made at night to keep disruption to the travelling public to a minimum and ensure steelwork was on site for the following day for assembly and installation.”

The M4 J3 to J12 Smart Motorway Upgrade is a £848 million project set to be operating by 2022. With the aid of an additional lane, the upgrade will reduce congestion, improve journey times and provide a high level of safety using new road monitoring technology.