A34 reopens after closure

26 April 2010, 09:30 | Updated: 26 April 2010, 12:54

The A34's reopened after being completely closed for nearly 24 hours for work to replace Oxford's Wolvercote Viaduct.

It was so the two bridges making up the new Viaduct could be concreted together - a process which took five hours to do and 18 hours for the concrete to set.

The A34 was completely closed between the Botley and Peartree interchanges from 7pm on Saturday 24 April 2010 until 6pm on Sunday 25 April.  It led to increased congestion on other roads around Oxford - particularly the Northern, Eastern and Southern Bypasses, where A34 traffic was diverted.

This is one of the final stages in a two-year project to replace the old 1960s viaduct.  The new bridges, which have now been put in its place, carry A34 traffic over the A40, a railway line and the Oxford Canal.

The old viaduct had started to crumble and the Highways Agency say it was more cost-effective to replace, rather than just mend.  The new viaduct bridges - which were moved into their present position at the end of March 2010 - are designed to last 120 years.

Two lanes have been running in both directions on the A34 for almost all of the two-year replacement project, albeit with narrow lanes and a 40mph speed restriction.

The people behind the project say they had no choice but to completely close the A34 because of the risk vibrations caused by vehicles would weaken the concrete being used to stitch the two bridges together.

The 40mph speed restriction is due to stay in place for a few more weeks while the final elements of the two year project are completed.

Viaduct project enters final stages

Wolvercote Viaduct project at a glance

Summer 2008
40mph speed restrictions and average speed cameras put in place
Work starts on building a new temporary southbound bridge, to the south of the existing two carriageways

9 March 2009
Temporary viaduct opens to southbound traffic
Southbound A34 traffic switched onto new temporary bridge
Northbound A34 traffic switched onto old southbound bridge

March - May 2009
Old northbound bridge demolished

May - September 2009
New northbound bridge built

26 September 2009
New northbound bridge opened
Northbound A34 traffic switched from old southbound bridge to new northbound one

Autumn 2009
Work starts to demolish and replace old southbound bridge

27 March 2010
Temporary southbound bridge moved into position to become the new southbound bridge

24-25 April 2010
Full closure of both A34 carriageways so the two new bridges can be concreted together

March - Summer 2010
Deconstruction of struts that used to hold temporary southbound bridge

Summer 2010
Project completed and speed restrictions lifted