M42 Improvements New Junction 5A Overbridge (BR02)

West Midlands, UK

To relieve congestion around Junction 6 of the M42, National Highways proposed a new dual carriageway link road, accessing Birmingham Airport and Birmingham International train station. This would connect to a new Junction 5a on the M42. As part of this new junction layout, a 49.7m single span bridge was required to carry the dual 2-lane carriageway link road over the M42. The deck is supported on fully integral bankseats bearing on Tensar reinforced soil abutments. Vertical and horizontal deck loading are transferred directly to the reinforced soil structures.


  • Optimised design from Tensar provided the most economical solution for this complex, time-critical structure
  • Lower carbon solution using TensarTech reinforced soil abutments compared to the reinforced concrete alternative, which aligns with National Highways carbon cutting objectives
  • Reliable Partner - From previous collaborations, Skanska knew they could trust Tensar’s design service and delivery for a series of structures on this important project
Client's Challenge

The bridge design comprises a single-span multi-girder steel/concrete composite deck, supported on fully integral bankseats transferring vertical and horizontal loads onto the abutments. An abutment design offering minimal construction carbon cost was desirable to align with the clients aims. The abutment solution needed a certified 120-year life with an attractive concrete facing.

Tensar Solution

Skanska engaged Tensar following successful collaboration on similar schemes. Tensar proposed the BBA/HAPAS Certified Tensartech TW3 reinforced soil wall system with modular block facing for the abutments and wing walls. This system offered a lower construction carbon footprint, lower cost, and faster construction time than RC alternatives. Working closely with Skanska’s design partner, Mott McDonald, Tensar took responsibility for the design of the reinforced soil structures. TensarTech System components were then supplied by Tensar.