M5 roadworks face six-month delay due to hot weather
Work to repair a stretch of the M5 motorway has been delayed by six months - and it's all down to the weather.
Bosses at Highways England have said the recent scorching temperatures mean the mammoth project at the Oldbury Viaduct has been held up by half a year.
Waterproofing and repairs between junctions 1 and 2 on the M5 have been ongoing since April 2017, with an initial finishing date of autumn this year.
But now the date has been pushed back dramatically, and workers now hope to finish 'as soon as possible' in 2019, but cannot give a definitive date.
Highways England spokesman James Wildman said one of the main reasons for the delay was the recent hot spell.
He said: "The weather has slowed us down.
"For example, waterproofing cannot be applied in temperatures over around 30C.
"In recent weeks the surface temperature on the viaduct has been around 40C in the daytime and so waterproofing material has had be applied overnight."
He added: "The work we are doing to repair the M5 Oldbury Viaduct is absolutely essential if drivers are to continue using it for years to come.
"We’re committed to completing the work as quickly and as safely as possible and we’re doing all we can to reduce disruption to motorists, businesses and residents."
The scheme has seen traffic filtered on to one side of the carriageway and the speed limit cut, causing delays for countless drivers the past year.
A well as the weather, other reasons for the delay included a higher number of individual repairs discovered than first anticipated.
More than 6,000 repairs were found when work began, when it was originally thought there would only be 1,500.
Mr Wildman added: "With the problems we have encountered in recent months we are aiming to finish the main repair work as soon as we can in 2019. We will not know the full extent of the repairs needed on the northbound carriageway or a final completion date until work there is under way.
"Based on our initial inspections, we expect the northbound carriageway to be in a better condition which means there should be a smaller number of repairs to complete.
"Through our experience on the southbound carriageway, we have made improvements to how we carry out the repairs more efficiently. This means we are now completing repairs at higher rate."