|M4 Elevated Section Reopens|
Highways Agency make surprise move ahead of arrival of Olympic family
In a surprise move the M4 has reopened this morning (Friday 13th July). The Highways Agency had said yesterday evening that the motorway would open on the 16th July but a change of plan appears to have taken place overnight.
There have already been concerns expressed that the earlier than expected opening has been made for political rather than engineering reasons as the 'Olympic Family' is due to start arriving on Monday and the M4 is a key route on the Olympic Road Network which aims to enable officials and participants the ability to drive to the games without traffic disruption.
The Highways Agency have stated that the M4 elevated section would not reopen until it was safe to do so.
Cracks in the Boston Manor 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 last 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 involved manufacturing bespoke, specialist steel plates to install over the crack. Junctions 1-2 were reopened on Sunday.
As a result of the closure, congestion increased on other roads in the area and on the diversion route via the A4 and A312 dual carriageways.