Explosive end for Catthorpe bridge

The redundant bridge at M1 junction 19 near Catthorpe before demolition. Picture: Highways Agency
The redundant bridge at M1 junction 19 near Catthorpe before demolition. Picture: Highways Agency
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At 80m long and weighing more than the Blackpool Tower, it took more than 500 explosives for the Highways Agency to demolish a redundant bridge on the M1 in Leicestershire.

The imposing 2,800 tonne bridge deck carrying the M6 to M1 carriageway over junction 19 near Catthorpe was reduced to rubble in seconds on Saturday night. It will now pave the way for a new road directly linking the M6 with the A14 as part of the M1 junction 19 improvement scheme.

The site during detonation, using hundreds of explosives. Picture: Highways Agency

The site during detonation, using hundreds of explosives. Picture: Highways Agency

Highways Agency project manager Ivan Marriott said: “The bridge needed to be safely and quickly removed causing as little disruption to road users as possible.

“After making 560 holes into the supporting columns of the bridge and filling them with 140 kilograms of explosives, we detonated the explosives, dramatically dropping the bridge deck onto a protective mat, made up of 1000 tonnes of recycled crushed concrete.

“All demolition material will now be crushed on site and re-used for constructing the new junction, which will ease congestion at the Catthorpe junction and improve journey times for road users.”

The demolition involved the closure of the A14 to M6 link through the junction and the M6 carriageways. Highways Agency traffic officers and the police overlooked the demolition, imposing rolling blocks on the M1 and A14 to control traffic and create a safety zone during the detonation.

After making 560 holes into the supporting columns of the bridge and filling them with 140 kilograms of explosives, we detonated the explosives

Project manager Ivan Marriott

Designed by Sir Owen Williams and Partners, the bridge was constructed in 1971. It was supported on 28 large concrete columns and two concrete abutments.

Further information on the M1 junction 19 improvement project is available on the Highways Agency’s website at: http://www.highways.gov.uk/roads/road-projects/m1-junction-19-improvement-scheme/

The aftermath will now make way for a new road linking the M6 with the A14. Picture: Highways Agency

The aftermath will now make way for a new road linking the M6 with the A14. Picture: Highways Agency