A47 works update

The Saddlebow Bridge interchange at King’s Lynn was struck by a HGV in 2012. Since then, there have been lane closures on the bridge and a temporary barrier to ensure it remained safe. However, it needed strengthening works.

Highways England has been progressing well with the £3.5 million strengthening works to both bridges since October 2017.

The strengthening works are technically challenging in nature, which includes the removal of two damaged steel girders twenty nine metres long and replacing those with new beams. Concrete demolition using high pressure water jets using 565,000 litres of water used so far and concreting the damaged areas are in progress. Most of the works have been carried out behind the closed screens and scaffolding to ensure the safety of road users.

Both the bridges carrying the A148 over the A47 at the Saddlebow interchange are currently closed to carry out the extensive repair works. Some activities that require long shifts are carried out during the weekend, so that there is no disruption to traffic during rush hours on weekdays. Diversion routes for the A47 night or weekend closures have been set as the shortest possible through the slip roads up and over at the interchange.

Work to both the east and west bridges at Saddlebow have been progressing well with an aim to complete the works by end of March 2018. However, we have recently identified concrete cracks to the west bridge which required further investigation and repairs. This was an unforeseen defect we identified to the bridge. Based on our technical experts these could have resulted from workmanship issues during the construction of the bridge in the 1970s. The recent adverse weather has forced us to cancel site activities for a week.

These issues have delayed our programme for a couple of weeks and the completion date will now move beyond Easter. We have worked alongside with Norfolk County Council and other stakeholders to find the best solution to this issue. It has been decided that due to the upcoming Easter holidays, we will not have any A47 weekend closures at Saddlebow Interchange on the following dates:

  • Friday 30th March — Monday 2nd April
  • Friday 13th April — Monday 16th April
  • Friday 20th April — Monday 23rd April

The decision to have no weekend closures on these dates has extended our programme. However this decision has been taken in consideration of local businesses and road users utilising the network during this busy holiday period. With this in mind we will now have full closures of the A47 underneath Saddlebow Interchange on the following dates to help our works progress.

  • Friday 9th March 8pm — Monday 12th March 6am
  • Wednesday 14th March 8pm — Thursday 15th March 6am
  • Friday 16th March 8pm — Monday 19th March 6am
  • Thursday 22nd March 8pm — Friday 23rd March 6am
  • Friday 23rd March 8pm — Monday 26th March 6am

With these unexpected delays we now anticipate the following.

  • Both of the bridges to be opened by early May 2018 after the works
  • We expect all the traffic management to be removed by the end of May 2018

We will also be sending out a link for a video of the works progress so far in the near future. We thank you for your continued patience and understanding whilst we continue to carry out these works. If you have any questions or comments about the scheme, please do not hesitate to contact us at A47works@graham.co.uk or alternatively call 0300 123 5000.