Fish, chips & mushy peas fuels M25 rigging crews


Approximately 100 people worked through the weekend to complete beam lifting operations durign the motorway closure

Over the two-day closure – aided by hearty catering – 72 beams were lifted into place for the M25 East bridge as well as a gantry spanning the entire width of the M25 carriageway.

Balfour Beatty Atkins JV is undertaking a £250m upgrade of junction 10 of the M25 to improve the intersection between the M3 and the A3 at Wisely, in Surrey.

So complex are the works that a series of five motorway closures are required. The first took place between the evening of Friday 15th March to early morning on Monday 18th March 2024.

The second took place on the weekend of 11th-12th May and saw both carriageways reopened on Sunday evening, seven hours ahead of schedule.

National Highways senior project manager Jonathan Wade said that the second closure was more challenging than the first “as the extent of the work was greater and considerably more precise.”

Posting on the LinkedIn social media platform, he wrote: “The first task was for Expanded to lift into place 68nr 16 tonne and 4nr 40 tonne end beams across the east and westbound carriageways of the M25. The second task was for Nusteel to erect a stanchions and on top of them, a 62m long information signage gantry. Other routine carriageway works were also being carried out towards Leatherhead.

“Closures took effect at 21:00 on Friday, followed by traffic management installation and rigging three Ainscough cranes, the largest being 750 tonne, accompanied by a pair at 500 tonne. The first beam lift was at 04:00, after which Expanded were on a roll and six hours later, 24 beams had been installed. Lorry shuttles took clockwise bridge beams to Cobham services to turn and gain access to the clockwise carriageway.

“Progress with Nusteel was equally brisk with the new gantry being delivered to site Saturday morning in three sections. Most of the day was spent erecting stanchions, aligning and bolting the three gantry sections together and it wasn’t until 04:00 Sunday that the structure was lifted into position.

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“An army marches on its stomach and mobile caterers provided meals at intervals during the weekend to the 100 or so members of the workforce on site. The fish, chips & mushy peas went down well for lunch on Saturday.

“Once again planning was led by Balfour Beatty Atkins, refining the process based on experience gained on previous A3 and M25 closures. As ever we are indebted to partner organisations for their input, foremost amongst them being Surrey County Council, but closely followed by the blue lights services, TfL and National Highways operations.

“Impact this time was more pronounced with traffic congestion around M25 junction 9 and on the southbound A3. We obviously regret that and really do appreciate the efforts of people to reduce travelling in the area.

“Not for the first time, thanks are due to our delivery partner Balfour Beatty Atkins, Expanded, Nusteel, Ainscough, Chevron, Saferoad & Highway Care for a safely discharged package of works.

“A lot of effort went in this weekend, rewarded with some great weather, a buoyant mood, pride in the work being palpable and getting ahead of programme at a fairly early stage. Writing this, we have just re-opened the M25, seven hours ahead of the committed time.

“Now to the next one and a similar bridge to the western side of junction 10, expected to be during the summer.”

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