Civil engineering specialist GRAHAM has reached a major milestone on the new M11 Junction 7a project at Harlow, Essex, following the installation of the structural steel beams to create a new overbridge at the junction.
The new Mores Overbridge will form an integral part of the infrastructure project, which has been funded through Highways England and Essex County Council to create a new junction between the existing junctions 7 at Harlow and 8 at Stansted on the M11, providing a new east-west link through the Essex town.
Along with a new link road and upgrade to Gilden Way in Harlow, the junction will improve access to the area’s busy road network, helping facilitate growth and creating better connectivity for residents, businesses and visitors.
The new Mores Overbridge links the eastern and western sides of the new M11 Junction 7a which, via a ‘dumbbell roundabout’ arrangement, will provide full connectivity with new northbound and southbound on-slips and off-slips.
GRAHAM’s project team completed the beam installation over a two-week period to include offline rigging and de-rigging of the main lifting crane.
Four overnight closures of the M11 were utilised to allow the safe lifting and installation of the beams. The closures also allowed for the installation of all the permanent formwork panels to the deck and the installation of the permanent bracing between the pairs of beams. Working in collaboration with Highways England the closures were further used for other maintenance works on the M11 preventing the need for numerous other closures and therefore minimising the impact on the road users.
David Slevin, Project Manager for GRAHAM, said: “We are really pleased to have completed this significant milestone of the M11 Junction 7a scheme. The scale of the overall operation to complete these works was huge. With a 600t capacity crawler crane being deployed for the main lifts the establishment of the crane platforms, crane assembly area and beam assembly and delivery areas proved highly challenging tasks.
“Thankfully, we were able to call on the vast engineering experience of our team and the teams of our supply chain partners to complete the delivery, lifting and installations without any issues arising. We now shift our focus onto the next phase of works in this important infrastructure project which will provide major benefits for Harlow and its surrounding areas.”
The major earthworks operations and drainage installation works on the scheme are also underway on the junction and link road into Harlow. With these due for completion in autumn 2021 the surfacing, fencing, landscaping and other finishing works will then continue into 2022. Significant surfacing works to the widened existing Gilden Way carriageway are also due to commence in June with a strategic series of planned weekend closures being utilised to allow the works to be completed safely and efficiently.
The £39.5m M11 Junction 7a scheme has been funded through Highways England, the Department for Transport, Essex County Council and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership and is scheduled for opening next year.