CONTRACTORS worked solidly throughout the night on Saturday and through the early hours of Sunday morning to dismantle the Pegwell Brake footbridge over the M5 near Bristol.

The concrete footbridge, located between junctions 16 and 17, needed to be demolished to make way for a new steel pedestrian bridge which will be suitable for high-sided vehicles to pass under when the managed motorway is fully operational and the hard shoulder is used as a running lane.

The dismantling and removal of the 220-tonne bridge required the M5 being closed in both directions for the duration of the work, from 7pm on Saturday, November 10 until around 8am on Sunday morning, when both carriageways were fully opened.

The bridge was dismantled into two sections, each of which was hoisted and removed by cranes.This method of removal was required to avoid excessive vibration due to the presence of a pipeline on the northbound carriageway.

The new pedestrian bridge is planned to be in place and available for use in the new year.

Highways Agency project manager Paul Unwin said: “We would like to thank all road users for their patience in following the diversion routes and making alternative travel arrangements.

“The removal of the old bridge is an essential part of the managed motorway scheme, and the closures meant that our workers were able to concentrate on doing a fantastic job in dismantling the structure as quickly and as safely as possible.”

The £88m managed motorway scheme is designed to cut congestion, make journey times more reliable and improve safety through the use of variable mandatory speed limits and by opening the hard shoulder as an extra running lane. Up to date traffic information is available by visiting, calling the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000, or on Twitter at @HAtraffic_swest or for the full index visit