M1 Catthorpe interchange reopens after bridge work

Catthorpe interchange in Leicestershire
Image caption The Catthorpe junction was closed for 36 hours while engineers dismantled an old 3,500-tonne bridge

One of the UK's busiest motorway junctions has reopened after being closed for much of the weekend for an old viaduct to be dismantled.

Demolition at the Catthorpe interchange, where the M6, M1 and A14 meet on the border of Warwickshire and Leicestershire, began on Friday night.

The Highways Agency said the junction fully reopened at 12:30 GMT.

The work saw the old viaduct, which carried M6 southbound traffic over the M1, replaced by a new bridge.

The the old 85-metre long, 3,500-tonne bridge had to be taken down for safety reasons.

'Minor traffic delays'

During the closure, the M1 was shut in both directions at junction 19 and southbound traffic on the M6 was not able to join the M1 at the interchange.

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Media captionThe old bridge carried M6 traffic over the top of the M1

The M1 northbound reopened just before 12:00 GMT and the motorway traffic was fully flowing half-an-hour later, the Highways Agency said.

The section of the M6, which closed to allow the work to go ahead reopened at 09:00 GMT, three hours ahead of schedule.

The agency had said there had been "minor" traffic problems over the weekend, with up to 10-minute delays during peak times.

Diversions were put in place during the 36-hour closure. Drivers were urged to allow extra time for their journeys or to avoid the area if they could.

Ivan Marriott, from the Highways Agency, had said the organisation had thought carefully about when to do the work.

"The problem is there is never going to be a weekend when nothing's actually happening," he said.

"Obviously we chose a weekend where traffic levels are lower. There's also less commercial traffic around as well and we did deliberately choose to avoid the busy Christmas period and also the new year."

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