Work to fix crumbling M32 bridge in Bristol to cost £200m and cause months of travel disruption

Credit: ITV News

A major repairs project which includes raising a crumbling motorway bridge in Bristol by half a centimetre is set to cost £200m, according to National Highways.

The Eastville Viaduct is used by tens of thousands of drivers every day travelling over junction two of the M32 in Bristol.

The bridge, which was built in the 1970s, is now in poor condition with serious defects and needs extensive repairs to cracking concrete and corroding bearings.

Earlier this month safety inspectors estimated repairs for a section of the bridge to cost around £22.6million but it has now confirmed the figure for the whole project will be at least £200million.

Work on the bridge, which is structurally safe, is scheduled to start in 2026 and is predicted to cause months of disruption for drivers.

Route manager for National Highways Sean Walsh said: “The M32 Eastville viaduct will need significant renewal in the coming years, and we have begun making plans for these works now.

“These works will ensure the long-term viability of the viaduct, the safety of its users, and also improve the area for local residents.

“This will include concrete repairs to the bridge itself, new barriers that will also incorporate noise mitigation, new gantries, drainage, lighting, and new waterproofing, as well as a new contiguous deck to allow traffic to be moved around during construction."

Serious defects on the bridge were found by inspectors. Credit: National Highways

National Highways hope to keep two lanes open in each direction while the works take place, although drivers could face 30mph speed limits and narrower lanes.

Some slip roads at Junction 2 will also be closed temporarily, as they need refurbishing.Noise barriers will also be installed along a long section of the motorway, benefiting many residents living in houses nearby, some just 10 metres away.

But these residents will also have to put up with incredibly noisy work such as blasting off the edges of the bridge.

Sean continues: "Whilst the viaduct remains structurally sound, we have been working in conjunction with consultants to develop the plans, with traffic modelling under way to ensure the works cause the minimum disruption possible.

“We understand this work will cause some inconvenience and disruption, but we are making every effort to ensure the impact on those who use the road is kept to a minimum and hope to keep it open in some capacity throughout the works.

"We will also work with West of England Combined Authority, Bristol City Council and South Gloucestershire Council to ensure there are appropriate mitigations in place where possible.”

The M32 will remain open in both directions, although individual slip roads at Eastville will close for extended periods and there will be occasional overnight closures of the motorway.