The expansion joints at the western end of the bridge deck close to the Pen-y-Clip tunnel portal are nearing the end of their service life and require replacement.
The expansion joints are an important part of the bridge. They accommodate the movement of the bridge deck. They must be replaced when worn out to ensure journeys can continue safely on this part of the network.
The joints are made and installed as a single unit spanning the full width of the carriageway. Each side of the carriageway needs to be closed whilst the old joint is removed and the new joint is installed. The joints are set in the ends of the bridge deck which will require local demolition to remove the existing joints and partial re-construction to install the replacements.
The project is programmed to take 18 days. The east bound carriageway joint will be replaced first followed by the west bound carriageway joint. Contractors will be working 24/7 to complete the works on each side as quickly as possible.
The works are programmed to take up to 9 days for each side of the bridge. If the works on the east bound side are finished early then works on the west bound carriageway will start immediately to shorten the overall duration of the works.
Most of the time there will be lots of activity although this will hidden behind protective screening. There will also be times when there is little or no activity eg. when concrete is gaining strength and drying out before application of waterproofing.
The quickest and least disruptive option for replacing the joints is to work continuously from start to finish. Once the old expansion joints are removed and partial demolition of the bridge deck has been carried out, large gaps in the carriageway will be present that will be unsafe for traffic to travel over. Each newly installed joint must be accurately fixed and held in position whilst it is cast into the end of the bridge deck.
Traffic will not be permitted to pass over the joint during these operations.
Most importantly the work is being carried out in January and February when traffic flows are typically lower.
Contractors will be working 24/7 to complete the works as quickly as possible utilising fast setting products. Additional equipment and tools will be on hand in case of breakdown. If the weather is cold and inclement the works site will be tented to allow the works to continue.
Temporary signs will be added to the basic traffic management signage to direct road users to stay on the A55 and to advise road users on all connecting routes to expect queues and delays.
Significant queueing and delay may occur at peak times especially on the A55 with moderate queueing expected at other times.
The local traffic routes are unsuitable for use as diversion routes when traffic flows are high during the day. Drivers who leave the A55 to avoid queues will add to congestion on local roads causing further delay to their journey.