Press Release

Balfour Beatty VINCI successfully completes demolition of 4,000 tonne M42 bridge to make way for HS2

12 February 2024



Balfour Beatty VINCI contractors working for HS2 have removed a 4,000 tonne bridge over the M42 to make way for the construction of the new high speed line across the motorway near the Interchange Station construction site in Solihull.

A team of 20 demolition experts from Solihull-based firm Armac, working on behalf of Balfour Beatty VINCI , carried out the demolition in a 52 hour operation.

The operation was coordinated in conjunction with National Highways, who were able to open the motorway section between Junctions 6 and 7 on Monday at 1.30am, which was three and a half hours earlier than planned, reducing disruption to road users.

The M42 was closed in both directions late Friday evening, 9 February, and the workforce worked throughout the night to prepare the area for the demolition activities.

Starting at 7am on Saturday 10 February, the demolition team used a 100 tonne excavator and a further seven 50 tonne demolition excavators to complete the operation, supplemented by numerous breaker and cruncher attachments. Six articulated dumper trucks transported the excavated material to a local stockpile where it will be crushed and reused on HS2’s haul roads and work sites.

Once the bridge was demolished at around 3pm on Saturday, the debris was removed, the matting taken away, carriageway cleaned, and central reservation and verge restraint systems reinstated, ready for the motorway to be re-opened at 1.30am on Monday 12 February.

It is the second of two 4,000 tonne bridges in close proximity over the M42 which needed to be demolished so HS2 can build a new twin box structure, which will carry the high speed line over the motorway in the future. The operation to demolish the first bridge took place in August last year.

The original plan was to demolish the second bridge next year. However, due to two drivers on the motorway below recently striking the bridge, National Highways asked HS2 to demolish the bridge sooner because it had become unsafe.

Oliver Shore, Construction Director at Balfour Beatty VINCI said: “The safe and successful demolition of this 4,000-tonne bridge is another huge achievement for Balfour Beatty VINCI. This was a complex operation, made even more challenging because of the limited time we had to plan and deliver this critical work. I’m really proud of how the team responded, showcasing their skill and experience in these demanding circumstances.

“It’s the second bridge removal we’ve delivered along the same stretch of motorway in just six months. Like the previous demolition last summer, every effort was made to minimise the impact on road users through careful planning and close collaboration between HS2 and National Highways.”

Alan Payne, Senior Project Manager at HS2 Ltd said: “This operation, delivered by local specialist firm Armac, is another step forward in the construction of HS2 in the Midlands. I’d like to thank the whole team for delivering the bridge demolition ahead of schedule, reducing disruption to roads users.”

Noel McLean, Technical Director of Armac said: “We were delighted to work with our partners HS2 and Balfour Beatty VINCI again, for the demolition of the M42 North Bridge.  Our primary aim is always to complete the project safely and in a controlled operation.  Thankfully, the project was completed well ahead of schedule. Another successful project from the Armac ‘Bridge Busters’ and all of the Balfour Beatty VINCI team.”

Frank Bird, National Highways Senior Network Planner said: “We are delighted to have been able to reopen the motorway for the benefit of road users some three and a half hours earlier than planned and thank people for their ongoing patience since the bridge was hit last month.

“This has been a challenging task as normally a demolition such as this would be planned over many months. Instead, everyone involved was able to mobilise resources to get it down in a matter of weeks. It has been a terrific collaborative effort with HS2 Ltd and all others involved and one I am sure road users will appreciate with all lanes now open.”

This year, the Balfour Beatty VINCI team will start to construct the huge twin box structure, which will carry HS2 trains over the M42. Enabling works commence in March and piling is due to commence in August.

This new structure, measuring 300 metres length by 25 metres width will cover around 130 metres of the M42 and will be built in position whilst maintaining three lanes of traffic flowing on the M42.

This section of HS2 railway lies between Interchange Station in Solihull and the Delta Junction, a triangular section of the line which enables trains to either travel into Birmingham’s Curzon Street Station or carry on north where trains will join the West Coast Main Line to Manchester.

HS2 has already built a new, improved road structure and roundabout in this area, to improve the circulation of traffic around the HS2 railway line and connect the existing road network to the new Interchange Station.


Media enquiries to:

Talha Haroun
Balfour Beatty

+44 (0)203 810 2345 | follow us @balfourbeatty


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Notes to editors:

  • Balfour Beatty is a leading international infrastructure group with 25,000 employees driving the delivery of powerful new solutions, shaping thinking, creating skylines and inspiring a new generation of talent to be the change-makers of tomorrow.
  • We finance, develop, build, maintain and operate the increasingly complex and critical infrastructure that supports national economies and deliver projects at the heart of local communities.
  • Over the last 114 years we have created iconic buildings and infrastructure all over the world. Currently, we are working to deliver Hinkley Point C, the first UK nuclear power station in a generation; constructing the world-class arts and cultural facility, the Lyric Theatre, in Hong Kong; and designing, building, financing, operating and maintaining the Automated People Mover superstructure at the fifth busiest airport in the world, Los Angeles International Airport.


Image: Balfour Beatty VINCI demolishes M42 bridge

Talha Haroun

Media & PR Executive