Video – Bridging the gap…

Armac Group hands back M27 a full 16 hours ahead of schedule.

On Saturday, I had the privilege of being on site to watch Armac Group do what Armac Group does best. The company was taking down a bridge over the M27 in Southampton during a weekend possession that would further cement its reputation as the UK’s leading exponent of bridge demolition techniques.

The company often refers to its crew as “the bridge busters” and – on the face of it – that is an apt description for a company that has chalked up almost countless bridge demolition successes. But that nickname belies a level of skill, planning and organisation the likes of which I have very seldom seen on a demolition project of any kind.

At times on Saturday, there were 10 excavators working in close proximity to ensure that the motorway would be open again in time for Monday morning’s rush hour. Each of those excavators was skilfully controlled. Each was fitted with an OilQuick coupler system that allowed the machines to switch seamlessly between breakers, pulverisers and – on occasions – buckets. And while there were ten excavators working on the carriageway itself, there were half a dozen or more on standby in a nearby compound, just in case.

A Pirtek van had travelled down from Armac’s native Birmingham to stand by in case of hydraulic hose failures. There is a Pirtek depot in Southampton but Armac Group wanted to have with them an engineer that already knew the equipment and their own fitter. Oil spill kits were also at the ready, just in case there was a hydraulic oil leak onto the carriageway.

This was a project on which even the contingency plan had a contingency plan.

We will be producing a full article on this project for the next Demolition magazine; and there will be a feature length video within the next episode of Demolition TV too. But, in the meantime, here’s a quick film we cobbled together “on the fly”.