Blog: Simon WarburtonMarathon job for Highways Agency

Simon Warburton | 19 April 2011

One of Britain's most pivotal motorway sections was paralysed last weekend as a huge fire underneath an elevated section melted key steel rods inserted in the concrete.

With engineers noting it was a miracle the section had not collapsed on the M1 just north of London, the situation was compounded by the timing of three massive events in the UK capital during the same weekend.

Both semi-finals of the English FA Cup were staged at Wembley - the rights and wrongs of which continue to be debated - while the hosting of the London Marathon meant around a cool 250,000 extra people poured into the capital - although not via the M1.

The massive inferno highlighted the vulnerability of the UK transport network to such random events and although the Highways Agency came in for some stick, I think it reacted pretty promptly to a unique situation.

Just take a look at the support structures that had to be hauled into place - does the HA just have these lying around for a rainy day such as this one?

It seems as if there will be severe disruption until the Easter weekend on the section, but the issue has at least prompted a raft of other locations with similar potential for fires to have a good look at their infrastructure.


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