Costain is working on a £4 million contract that involves enlarging a roundabout on junction 21 of the M5 at Weston-Super-Mare.
The contract, which is being jointly funded by the Department of Transport and North Somerset Council, is expected to bring substantial improvements to the area.
The project is the first that Costain has won under an asset support framework contract, one of five traffic improvement projects known as the Weston Package being managed by the council.
The junction handles a large north-south through-flow of traffic on the M5. It also handles a cross-flow from Weston-super-Mare to Bristol along the A370 and gives access to a large Lidl supermarket distribution centre nearby.
Currently a two-lane roundabout, Costain will be adding a third lane, with the works including a dedicated filter lane from Weston-super-Mare on to the M5. Costain will also install traffic-responsive traffic signals. The net effect will be to move vehicles through the roundabout much more quickly than at present.
“It’s a very sensitive roundabout,” said Costain’s project manager, Dave Forbes. “Although it came under particular strain in summer with tourist traffic, it was always busy and a major challenge for the project team was to keep traffic flowing throughout the duration of the contract.
“From an engineering point of view the work poses a number of challenges, but perhaps the greatest is organising a safe programme of work in close proximity to the M5 and minimising disruption to road users and local businesses.”
Work is due to be completed at the start of next year.