Achieving outstanding outcomes through third-party rail schemes What We Do

A45 South Bridge replacement

Replaced a narrow Victorian road bridge over the West Coast Main Line and won prestigious awards for partnership working.

Project Overview

The bridge carried three lanes of traffic on a strategic route (the A45) which serves major economic areas, such as Resorts World, the NEC and Birmingham International Station. It also provided main access to Birmingham Airport from the motorway network, specifically the M42 motorway. The project was extremely complex because it required structural demolition and construction of a bridge over a rail line and required extensive collaboration with railway industry experts – that’s where we came in!

What we did

We were appointed to provide advice on the rail issues relating to the project. A key part of this was leading discussions with Network Rail and securing practical solutions to the challenges around the works interface with existing signalling and electrified overhead line equipment. As this progressed successfully, we were asked to provide additional support, including project management, input to the procurement process and assistance with the DfT funding bid.

We ended up managing the project to completion, including programme management, commercial management, and on-site supervision. To minimise disruption to road users, the first phase of the project included construction of part of the new bridge, which carried traffic while the old bridge was demolished. The project team coordinated the successful rerouting of telecoms, water, and high-pressure gas mains with the utility companies. Over Christmas 2015, in a 54-hour possession of the West Coast Main Line, the existing bridge was successfully demolished. The work was completed ahead of schedule and the line handed back on time.

The bridge was fully opened to traffic on schedule in September 2016 and provided:

  • A new asset with a design life of 120 years.
  • 3 full width lanes for the A45.
  • A dedicated lane from the M42 towards the airport.
  • A footway/cycleway and a private access road to property and land east of the railway, removing a hazardous entry /exit point from the dual carriageway.


  • All three lanes of the westbound A45 remained operational throughout, except for a handful of very short nighttime closures.
  • The project was delivered in full, to schedule and within the budget constraints set by the council. The bridge opened in September 2016.
  • The new wider bridge reduced traffic congestion, air pollution, has reduced maintenance issues and costs and provides safe cycle lanes and footways.
  • With a design life of 120 years, the new bridge has brought maintenance costs significantly lower as the old bridge was a Victorian structure with lots of damage that was difficult and expensive to manage.
  • Following the opening of the bridge, the project team was recognised with several awards, particularly for cooperative working and collaboration. These include the UK Rail Industry Awards, Constructing Excellence West Midlands, and ICE West Midlands.

What the client said

“SLC managed the challenges involved in delivering the A45 South Bridge. The scheme was delivered on time and budget. One of the major stakeholders in the area commented that it was one of the best stakeholder management processes they had seen”.

Derek Lawlor, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

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