Tarmac safely carries out unique bridge installation as part of Perry Barr highways improvement scheme

October 7, 2021

The installation of a unique new bridge structure over the top of a busy underpass in Birmingham has been successfully completed by Tarmac as part of a major A34 Perry Barr highways improvement scheme.

Using a specialist 300 tonne crane carefully positioned on a temporary platform on the existing carriageway below, 25 precast concrete bridge beams each weighing between 11 and 23 tonnes were carefully placed into position between two existing bridges. With millimetre precision, the beams were placed to span across the existing four-lane-wide Birchfield Junction underpass.

Working with design partner WSP, the bespoke precast solution – which saw all the main sections of the bridge prefabricated off-site before being delivered and lifted into place – was developed to minimise disruption, reduce risk and boost efficiency.  

The newly installed units have been made specifically to replace the existing roundabout bridges and underpass, built originally by Tarmac in the 1960s, helping to create a bridge uniquely built directly in the void between two existing structures.

Andy Brown, director of Tarmac’s Infrastructure business, said: “We’re extremely proud to be working with Birmingham City Council on this scheme, which is reshaping the future of Perry Barr. Completing the new bridge infrastructure at Birchfield Junction marks a significant landmark on this major regeneration project.


“The design and installation of the bridge itself was a first for us and certainly a unique challenge. As far as we’re aware it’s the first time such a structure has ever been built in the void between two existing bridges above a busy carriageway below, and it’s a testament to the whole project team that such a complex programme was completed without any issues.”

Completed in just a single weekend to reduce disruption for local residents, the bridge installation work involved carefully managing and diverting traffic up and over the Birchfield roundabout on a traditionally busy section of the A34.

Part of a wider £700m+ regeneration project being led by Birmingham City Council and partners, the highways improvement scheme will transform Perry Barr and surrounding areas to make it one of the most well-connected places in the West Midlands.

Earlier this year as part of the project, Tarmac safely dismantled the 50-year-old Perry Barr flyover to make way for an improved road layout that will incorporate a new dual carriageway, cycle paths and improved public transport services.

The scheme, which began in May 2020, will support the delivery of new homes, improvements to public transport, walking and cycling routes, new community facilities and lively public spaces. It is due for completion later this year.

Councillor Waseem Zaffar, cabinet member for transport and environment at Birmingham City Council, added: “The careful planning and preparations carried out by all involved on this scheme have helped ensure the project has been delivered as smoothly as possible.

“The huge effort and hard work that has been put in is helping to make Perry Barr one of the most well-connected areas in the region. It is helping deliver the vital infrastructure we need to underpin the wider regeneration of north west Birmingham.”