Sandwell Borough Council

  • Project Major Project: Underpass Propping A41 West Bromwich
  • Principal Contractor Balfour Beatty
  • Key Benefit Working together with the customer to plan and design the temporary solutions
Aerial shot of motorway under construction


As part of a major intersection upgrade just off Junction 1 on the M5; MGF was approached by Balfour Beatty to design and supply a significant temporary works scheme. The creation of a new underpass under the old roundabout will alleviate the heavy traffic congestion experienced at the junction.

MGF was involved with the scheme from very early in the tender process and spent 12 months working in partnership with Balfour Beatty to prepare the design

The Solution

This job was challenging and complex for MGF due to the large number of props and the limited access times for installation.

MGF provided props supporting a 204m section using a total of 43 large props. The scheme was split into 3 main stages. The design for the central section comprised 6N° 2500kN Hydraulic Struts combined with 1000 Series Strut Extensions spanning 25m. This formed the 1st stage of the excavation work.

The west section was supported by 19N° 1250kN Hydraulic Struts combined with 400 Series Strut Extensions spanning 19m.

In the east, the section was supported with a series of 18N° 1250kN Hydraulic Struts combined with 400 Series Strut Extensions spanning 19m. Structural detailing was complicated by the fact the west and east section props raked in both plan and section.

“This was always going to be a complicated propping exercise that required detailed planning and design work to resolve the massive forces when the earthworks were removed from between the two piled walls. It was therefore imperative that both Balfour Beatty and MGF worked seamlessly together on this complex temporary works solution from the outset”

Richard Hughes, Project Manager, Balfour Beatty

The Verdict

The A41 contract represents MGF’s largest ever supply of hydraulic props to a single site. A tremendous achievement to all those involved and a milestone in MGF’s history.

Each prop was pre-assembled at Head Office with delivery in full lengths achieved using MGF’s Noot­eboom 28m Extendable Rear Steer Trailer. Each pre-assembled prop was installed in a single lift into its final position. The Balfour Beatty installation team were able to achieve this operation in a mere 30 min­utes per prop.