|M4 Not Reopening This Week|
Promised reopening not happening as damage worse than feared
The M4 will not reopen this week as had originally been expected and the Highways Agency is now saying they hope the repair work will be completed in the 'next few days.'
They say the final work to repair the Boston Manor Viaduct, just west of junction 2, has reached a critical stage and, due to the complexity of the operation, more time than originally envisaged is required to complete the work safely.
The announcement came as something of a surprise as there had been earlier indications that the road would be opening first thing Thursday morning.
Roads Minister Mike Penning said, “I share the frustration of motorists at the continued delay to the opening of the M4.
“However, let’s be absolutely clear, safety must be paramount and I will not allow the road to be reopened until this repair work has been completed successfully. This is a very complex operation and it is not possible to predict precisely how long it will take.
‘I want to thank motorists for their patience and assure them that we are doing everything we possibly can to fix this problem and get the road safely reopened as soon as possible.”
Cracks in the viaduct were discovered during a planned routine investigation of the structure in March and repair work has been ongoing.
The Highways Agency took the decision to close the motorway between junctions 1 (Chiswick Roundabout) and 3 overnight on Friday. This was because in entering the final stages of the complex repair work the Highways Agency found a new crack in a highly stressed part of the bridge supports. This necessitated a unique repair solution which involves manufacturing bespoke, specialist steel plates to install over the crack. Junctions 1-2 were reopened on Sunday.
As a result of the closure, congestion has increased on other roads in the area and on the diversion route via the A4 and A312 dual carriageways.