Abnormal load causes 10 miles of tailbacks

A similar transformer being transported on a previous weekend. Photo: Avon & Somerset Police

An abnormal load travelling through the region has caused ten miles of tailbacks on the M4, with more delays expected on the M5 tomorrow (Sunday).

A large electrical transformer is being transported from the decommissioned Didcot power station in Oxfordshire to Avonmouth Docks in Bristol.

The load will take up two lanes on motorways and both lanes of single carriageway stretches of road. It's almost 100m long and 5m wide, weighing around 640 tonnes and is travelling at an average speed of 4 mph – walking pace – and even more slowly on uphill stretches.

As the load is too heavy for the M4 near junction 19, it will use A roads on part of its journey.

Saturday schedule:

  • Joins M4 at Chieveley approximately 9am.
  • Exits M4 at Tormarton for the A46 and arrives at the Tog Hill parking area on the A420 at about 6pm for an overnight rest stop.

Sunday schedule:

  • Leaves the Tog Hill parking area at about 9am.
  • It will be escorted along the A420 and is expected to arrive at Wick by about 11am. When it reaches the village there will be a delay as steel plates are laid on the road where it passes over two culverts.
  • The route then takes it to the A4174. When it reaches the Bromley Heath roundabout the road will be closed from there to the M32 junction so that the load can travel on the wrong side of the dual carriageway to avoid a weak bridge.
  • At the junction with Bristol Road, the load will return to the correct carriageway and continue onto the M32, rejoining the M4 before taking the M5 to Avonmouth, reaching the docks at about 6pm.

After its arrival at Avonmouth, the transformer will be transported by sea to Germany.

This is the second of three transformers to be moved. The provisional dates for the third load to be transported are Saturday November 23 and Sunday November 24 – but this could be subject to change.