Repair bill estimate for M32 bridge in Bristol soars to £200 million
The Eastville Viaduct is in poor condition and needs extensive repairs
The estimated repair bill for a motorway bridge in Bristol is much higher than initially thought, costing a whopping £200 million.
The Eastville Viaduct, a flyover on the M32, is in poor condition and needs extensive repairs to cracking concrete and corroding bearings.
The extent of the repairs needed on the bridge, which was built half a century ago, was revealed in a recent safety inspection report after a freedom of information request. Inspectors from National Highways estimated the cost of repairs needed as £22.6 million.
But bosses from National Highways, the government company responsible for motorways, are now planning a much wider programme of works. The works are due to start in 2026 and are predicted to cause months of disruption for drivers and cost at least £200 million.
A spokesman for National Highways said: “The early estimate in the structure’s general inspections report was based on individual and visible repairs at that time, and not the full extent of the scheme we now plan to deliver, which includes additional work to extend the life of the whole structure and replacement of such assets as gantries, technology, drainage and noise and safety barriers.
“It also didn’t include other expenses such as providing a complex traffic management solution to maintain as much traffic capacity as possible.”
Defects with the 1.1-kilometre bridge include poor installation of bearings that were fitted “incorrectly” and a “lack of quality control” during concrete pours, according to the inspection report carried out earlier this summer.
On the bottom of the bridge, concrete has broken away in several parts, and corroding reinforcement steel can now be seen from below.
National Highways previously said the bridge was “structurally sound and safe” and they “hope to keep it open” in some capacity while the repair works take place.