12 July 2012
The final complex work to repair the Boston Manor Viaduct, just west of junction 2, has reached a critical stage and, due to the complexity of the operation, more time than originally envisaged is required to complete the work safely.
As a result, road users are advised the M4 between junctions 2 and 3 in west London will not open on Thursday morning.
Conditional on the repair work being successful, it is still expected that the work will be completed and the road reopened within the next few days.
The Highways Agency and its contractors are working around the clock and will reopen the motorway as soon as it is safe to do so.
Drivers planning to travel into west London via the M4 are advised to continue using alternative routes via the M3 or M40.
Roads Minister Mike Penning said: "I share the frustration of motorists at the continued delay to the opening of the M4. However, let's be absolutely clear, safety must be paramount and I will not allow the road to be reopened until this repair work has been completed successfully. This is a very complex operation and it is not possible to predict precisely how long it will take. I want to thank motorists for their patience and assure them that we are doing everything we possibly can to fix this problem and get the road safely reopened as soon as possible."
Cracks in the viaduct were discovered during a planned routine investigation of the structure in March and repair work has been ongoing.
The Highways Agency took the decision to close the motorway between junctions 1 and 3 overnight on Friday. This was because in entering the final stages of the complex repair work the Highways Agency found a new crack in a highly stressed part of the bridge supports. This necessitated a unique repair solution which involves manufacturing bespoke, specialist steel plates to install over the crack.
As a result of the closure, congestion has increased on other roads in the area and on the diversion route via the A4 and A312 dual carriageways.
Delays of about 15-20 minutes continue to be recorded in both directions for traffic using the diversion route.
Congestion has increased on roads in London which are managed by TfL and local authorities, with whom the Agency continues to liaise and will make whatever changes are needed to help keep traffic moving in and out of London.
The indications are that the measures the Highways Agency was able to implement for Monday morning to reopen the M4 between junctions 1 and 2 are working to relieve pressure on the junction 1 (Chiswick) roundabout.
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