A bridge that had stood for a century has been demolished in a 32-hour operation as part of a project to improve the surrounding road network and free up land for development.
Specialist equipment was used to take down the 100-year-old railway bridge in Darlaston. Rail services were stopped to allow the work to be carried out from 9pm on Saturday until 5am today.
The work, at Bentley Road South, was part of an ongoing plan to create better road links to unlock land for redevelopment and create jobs and investment opportunities.
Councillor Adrian Andrew, deputy leader of Walsall Council, said: “Better roads around the Black Country Enterprise Zone which includes Darlaston will mean we can unlock 40 hectares of land, create over 3,000 jobs in the next few years and significantly improve the operating environment for existing local businesses – all of which are major aims of Walsall Council.
“When it was built all those years ago, the world was a different place, and the road didn’t carry the weight or amount of traffic it does today. The bridge is narrow and weak, and this has been a problem for some time. A large number of heavy trucks use this bridge going to and from important local businesses, so this is excellent news.”
Contractors MPB carried out the work using a 45-ton, 35-ton and two 25-ton machines to break up the bridge. More than 4,000 cubic tons of rubble was removed as part of the operation. Once demolition work is completed, a wider bridge will be built.
The road improvement work is part of a series of measures in and around the Darlaston section of the Black Country Enterprise Zone. Bentley Road South was closed in April for up to 18 months as part of the preparation works for the new bridge. It was then shut to pedestrians and cyclists in July.
Four major junctions and two bridges are set to be upgraded in Darlaston and Pleck as part of the scheme. There will be work in Bentley Road South, including the junction with Heath Road, and Bentley Mill Way, including the junction with Darlaston Road.
Also listed for improvement are the junction of A4038 Darlaston Road and A4148 Bescot Road as well as the junction of A4148 Bescot Road and Wallows Lane.