A45 successfully diverted by the VolkerFitzpatrick Colas JV

VolkerFitzpatrick, in joint venture with Colas (VFC), has successfully realigned a section of dual carriageway along the A45 as part of the A45 Corridor Improvements Scheme, for joint clients Birmingham City Council and Birmingham Airport Limited.

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This scheme is part of a larger contract to extend Birmingham Airport's runway by 405m and allow aircrafts to fly direct to destinations currently out of reach, such as China, South America, South Africa and the West Coast of the USA. As the A45 ran past the end of the runway it required realignment to provide room for the runway extension.

VFC began construction of the new 2km horse shoe shape ‘loop' road in August 2012. This was a huge challenge as the A45 is a major arterial road and any closures would have affected the West Midlands greatly.

The diversion was further complicated due to electrical, water, gas and telecoms lines running along the route, which had to be relocated following new ducting and cables being laid.

To overcome this challenge VFC constructed the road in sections, which allowed work to continue in stages with no overlap, and all ducting and cables were relocated into a new services corridor that ran adjacent to the new road and a major watercourse.

The ‘switch' of traffic, from the existing A45 to the new loop, took place over nine days and was officially opened on the 2nd October 2013.

VFC firstly closed the westbound dual carriage way and opened the eastbound dual carriage way to two way traffic. This then allowed for the excavation, rebuild and connection of 100m of existing road at each end. Once completed traffic was diverted to the new road and similar work undertaken on the westbound carriage way.

The redundant section of road is currently being removed, with 600,000 tonnes of earthworks being cut and re-profiled to make way for the runway extension.

Along with the new runway extension VFC will also resurface the entire runway (2.6km), complete major upgrade works including modifications to the existing fuel farm, a new taxi-way, installation of new aviation ground lighting and approach lighting, construction of a new airfield perimeter and public transport roads, new drainage works including a new pumping station and pollution control system and associated landscaping work.

Construction works south of the existing runway have already commenced and all night flights will be suspended from November 2013 to March 2014 to give VFC full access.

Speaking on behalf of VolkerFitzpatrick and Colas, Des Steadman, managing director of civil engineering at VolkerFitzpatrick, commented: "We're delighted to have been contracted for this project. We recognise and understand the importance of this significant infrastructure change and will continue to maintain the high standards already shown in completing the A45 diversion."