THE M4 is to be closed this weekend to allow work to continue on the Smart Motorway project.
The shutdown starts at 8pm on Friday, May 29, and continues through to 6am on Monday, June 1.
A second shutdown is planned for the following weekend, with the same times.
The road will be closed between junction 6 for Slough and junction 8/9 for High Wycombe.
The closure is to allow for the widening of the Thames Bray Bridge, which goes over the River Thames. An extra lane is being put in place in both directions of the busy road.
Highways England say that it is the most challenging aspect of the project.
The work this weekend will see the installation of steel beams that will form the deck of the widened bridge. They have been prefabricated into three sections, weighing nearly 300 tonnes, so they can be installed while keeping the time that the road need to be closed for to an absolute minimum.
It is one of 11 bridges that are affected by the project and the Thames Bray Bridge is being installed by a Balfour Beatty VINCI joint venture on behalf of Highways England.
During the closures, motorway traffic will be diverted via the A308M, A308 and the A355 and there will be fully signed diversions in place. Drivers are advised to plan ahead, leave extra time for their journeys and consider alternative routes if possible.
The installation is expected to be in use by 2021 and the smart motorway by 2022.
Thames Path closures
The size of the beams and the cranes required to lift and position them will also involve stopping navigation on the River Thames between Boveney and Bray locks during these weekends.
The Environment Agency will issue a Harbour Master’s Notice for this stoppage.
The towpath which is part of the Thames Path National Trail will also be closed during these weekends with a signed diversion along local footpaths, minor roads and via the Jubilee River to enable walkers to re-join the route past the works.
For more details, on the project, log on to https://highwaysengland.co.uk/projects/m4-junctions-3-12-smart-motorway/