Modular bridge supports Highways England’s North East improvement

Modular bridge

A 142m modular bridge by Cleveland Bridge UK is supporting Highways England’s A19 Testo’s Junction Improvement Scheme as part of a major programme to improve journeys in the North East

As part of Highways England’s A19 Testo’s Junction Improvement Scheme, Cleveland Bridge UK is delivering a 142m modular bridge that will alleviate traffic issues at one of the North East of England’s busiest intersections.

Contrasting a more common configuration, the bridge will take the main A19 traffic flow over the top of a roundabout. As a result, the bridge required for the scheme is larger than standard with one structure being employed rather than the usual two smaller bridges forming a raised roundabout.

This design also involves a staged installation programme, which will minimise interruption of existing traffic flow during the works.

Alleviating congestion

Testo’s roundabout is a major junction forming the intersection of the A19 with the A184, south of the Tyne Tunnel entrance at Jarrow. There is severe congestion at this roundabout at peak times and Highways England’s proposals aim to improve the junction by raising the A19 on a flyover and building new slip roads to connect it to the A184 via the Testo’s roundabout.


This means through traffic on the A19 would not have to use the roundabout, and access between Testo’s roundabout and Downhill Lane junction would be provided using link roads.

Alleviating traffic congestion on the redeveloped roundabout that connects the A19 with the A184, the flyover is part of a £15bn programme of work by Highways England to improve journeys between the main North East arterial route and the surrounding areas.

Downhill Lane junction is located just over 5km south of the Tyne Tunnel and approximately 1.1km south of the Testo’s junction. It forms the junction between the A19 and the A1290, which is one of the main access routes for the Nissan car plant and Washington Road that runs north into Sunderland.

To date, two additional lanes on both northbound and southbound sides of the roundabout have been completed, which has also created the space for the construction of the flyover that includes the installation of more than 130 concrete piles.

Progress made while following government guidance

With piling work now complete, contractors are able to build support walls for the bridge. Progress has been made with earthwork, drainage and fencing, while maintaining strict safeguarding measures, in line with current Public Health England guidance to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Cleveland Bridge UK has been awarded the contract for the fabrication and installation of the bridge by smart infrastructure solutions company Costain.

Installation will take place later this year with the five component phases currently being fabricated at Cleveland Bridge UK’s 27,000 sq m production facility 40 miles south of the project site in Darlington.

The bridge, a 1,393te weathering grade road bridge is being fabricated as a series of 25 paired girders. The largest of the paired girders is 33m in length with the heaviest pair weighing approximately 60te.

Phases 2 and 4, which are haunch girders are being partly hand-welded while phases 1,3 and 5 are being delivered using Cleveland Bridge UK’s T&I welding machine, which supports the company’s commitment to utilising technology to drive manufacturing efficiencies.

The scale of Cleveland Bridge UK’s factory will also enable it to undertake test assembly of the each of the paired girders to check spliced connections, which will ensure a more efficient final installation on site.

Using a 500te mobile crane, installation of the bridge structure will take less than four weeks later.

Andy Limbert, head of project management at Cleveland Bridge UK, said: “We are highly active in markets across the world, but it is always satisfying to secure projects in our home region of the North East, particularly those that will bring significant benefits to the efficiency of the area’s transport network.

“Our expertise in the fabrication and installation of highway bridges are being demonstrated on this project where, in partnership with our client and our supply chain, we will maintain efficiencies to ensure it is delivered on time to support the wider projects schedule.

“We are also very proud to continue our long-term collaborative relationships with Highways England and Costain and look forward to the successful completion of this project.”


Andy Limbert

Head of project management

Cleveland Bridge UK

+44 (0)1325 381 188

Twitter: @CleveBridgeUK

LinkedIn: Cleveland Bridge UK

YouTube: Cleveland Bridge


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