Alvechurch (J2 to J3) and Umberslade (J3 to J4) Sections

The second section of the M42 to open was the Umberslade Section in 1985 and this section was the first of 3 sections at the southern end of M42 which were constructed during the period May 1983 to June 1986. The construction of the Umberslade and Alvechurch Sections was undertaken by the same Contractor, Dowsett Engineering Construction Ltd.

Together the two contracts included the construction 8.7 miles of dual 3-lane motorway, half of the M40/M42 junction at Umberslade, two interchanges and 19 bridges. During the tender period, the Contractors were instructed to price both the cost of flexible black-top pavement and a rigid concrete pavement. On both contracts, the construction of concrete pavement was the cheaper alternative. Of the 2 contracts, Alvechurch was the smaller. It was 2.4 miles long and included the construction of 5 bridges. It was completed well within the contract period.

The Umberslade contract was 6.3 miles long and included the construction of 14 bridges, 2 of which were over a railway line and a canal. The contract got off to a slow start as the first 2 months were very wet and this delayed the start of the earthworks. This delay had a knock-on effect on the subsequent operations and the contract finished 20 weeks late.

Both contracts have a rigid concrete pavement. The pavement is unreinforced concrete 300mm thick with transverse joints at 5m intervals and a longitudinal joint down the middle of both carriageways. The concrete pavement was slip-formed using a paver incorporating a device which automatically placed the contraction joint dowel bars into the fresh concrete while the paver was moving forward. This process had not been used before in this country and probably accounts, in part, for the roughness of the ride.