MT 123/174

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Section 2 Hirwaun to Dowlais Top: letting of contract

Date range1961-1963
LocationNational Archives (see all files stored here)
CatalogueSee entry
File baseSeries MT, subseries MT 123


Section II of the new Heads of the Valleys Road being constructed in the 1960s was awarded to a consortium of bridge-building companies and appears to have run smoothly.

This file deals with the awarding of the contract, and the Ministry's subsequent dealings with the contractor. There are many progress reports and other routine correspondence between MOT, the contractors and the consulting engineers who were supervising the work.

Perhaps the most interesting thing is the story of Taf Fawr bridge near Merthyr Tydfil. It was redesigned by the contractors, who wanted to develop a technique they had used on a previous contract, and offered a £5,000 saving on the total cost of £150,000 for the bridge. This involved bringing specialised plant and experienced/skilled engineers from the M2 Medway Bridge contract as soon as that was complete. The concept was that by adjusting the position of the piers it could be built without temporary formwork or supports underneath, and the result is that it would look an awful lot like the Medway Bridge. Their design had three spans instead of the original five.

The MOT deliberated and eventually refused, on the basis that the original design was simpler and would present fewer unknowns for future maintenance. Then there were further meetings, and it seemed to be looked on more favourably, but the file offers no conclusion and the paper trail dries up. A site visit to Merthyr Tydfil is then necessary if you want to know the ending, where it turns out that the bridge standing there today looks just like the Medway Bridge, and has three spans instead of five, so it must be the contractors' clever design after all.

People with camera copies

None known.