High speed rail could ‘engineer out of existence’ a long-term solution to upgrade or replace the M1 Tinsley Viaduct, a senior councillor has said.
Coun Leigh Bramall, Sheffield Council cabinet member for business, skills and development, spoke in detail after The Star reported how the council and MPs want a plan to be put together as soon as possible for rebuilding of the 1968 structure.
There are fears that plans for the HS2 high speed rail line and station to be built on one side of the viaduct, and ongoing construction of a power station on the other, could leave no land for a new viaduct.
Coun Bramall said: “If the viaduct was to require rebuilding, either to widen the M1 or replace a worn structure, even if it is some years in the future, the space needs to exist for that to happen.
“With an HS2 station and line currently being proposed right next to the M1, this needs to be considered to ensure we avoid any M1 solution being engineered out of existence.”
He added: “At a recent event held by the Highways Agency, questions about the restricted capacity of the M1 at the Tinsley Viaduct were raised, as well as the integrity of the structure over the longer term. We believe these concerns need looking at now to enable solutions to be sought.”
The Highways Agency, which runs motorways and trunk roads for the Government, said the viaduct is structurally sound and it has no plans for a replacement.
■ Sheffield Council’s cabinet is set to back plans for a £28 million road beneath Tinsley Viaduct, allowing vehicles travelling between the Lower Don Valley and Rotherham to avoid the congested junction 34 roundabouts.
The Government has approved £16 million of funding towards the project which will also be supported by a European Union grant. The council anticipates the road - part of the north Bus Rapid Transit route between Sheffield and Rotherham - could create up to 4,000 jobs.