The fine weather over the past few days means that VolkerLaser have made really good progress in carrying out the preparations for the start of the surfacing operations on the south side of the main deck. The final section of waterproofing material is due to be installed and completed by the end of today. Laying the waterproof membrane on the surface of the steel deck is the last stage of the preparatory work required for the surfacing operations. VolkerLaser’s specialist surfacing contractor, Aeschlimann, are due to arrive on site at the weekend and will immediately begin preparing their plant and equipment to enable laying operations to start on Monday.
With work already completed on resurfacing the toll plaza area, this means that during the next few days VolkerLaser crews will be working in the site compound on final preparations for replacing the remaining bridge expansion joints and directional lane studs, due to be carried out after the surfacing operations.
As previously explained the steel bridge deck has to be resurfaced in a specialist, asphalt material. At an average of 40mm thick, this material is much thinner and lighter than the materials used in standard road construction.
The material is laid in two thin layers using a special surfacing machine that runs on rails. The rails are set up to ensure that the contractor achieves a controlled material thickness while also providing a smooth running surface using the existing profiles of the bridge deck.
Aeschlimann will be installing the surfacing rails on Saturday so the resurfacing can begin on Monday morning. The surfacing operation is expected to be completed by the end of next week.
Once the surfacing has been completed on the south side of the main deck, VolkerLaser will be replacing the final bridge expansion joints, installing the directional lane studs and completing the lane markings. This is expected to take a few weeks, with the project remaining on schedule for all the work to be completed and the bridge fully re-opened by the end of October.
Whilst daily traffic levels remain around 90% of pre pandemic traffic flows, there has been an increase in eastbound commuter traffic during the morning and afternoon peak periods which has created specific issues for drivers and customers living and working in Saltash.
Our bridge control staff are aware of this issue and are constantly monitoring traffic flows. As a result they have been switching the lanes more frequently to favour eastbound traffic during ‘rush hour’ periods.
We recognise the difficulties congestion is causing for people using the bridge and living in surrounding areas and are continuing to work hard to keep delays to a minimum while safely managing the project. The control room staff are working with the contractor to respond to the build up of traffic as quickly as possible. While this process has to be carried out manually while the works are taking place on the main deck, lane changes are routinely being carried out within 10 minutes.