No end in sight to M32 slip road closure after fire damages Eastville flyover ramp
A BUSY motorway slip road remains closed almost two weeks after a fire damaged concrete flyover supports.
The blaze in the back yard of the Tesco Extra supermarket in Eastgate Road, Eastville, was spotted shortly after 9.30pm on Sunday February 23 and crews from three city fire stations were called in to tackle it.
The store, which is usually open 24 hours a day, closes at 4pm on Sundays and firefighters had to use grinders to cut their way into the open storage area.
Highways England closed the exit slip road for the northbound M32, which is next to the scene of the fire and part of the Eastville flyover, to carry out a safety assessment.
But the agency says the ramp, below, is not safe for traffic and will stay closed until it has assessed what repairs are needed.
Highways England South West head of service delivery Chris Regan said: “The fire burned at an incredibly high temperature with the potential to cause damage to the structure. As such, it is not currently safe to allow traffic to drive over it.
“We have appointed a team of specialist contractors to help us understand exactly what needs to be done to fix the problem.
“In the coming days, a platform will be erected on the underside of the slip road to help us further assess, monitor and inspect the bridge.
“While we are trying to understand if it may be possible to reopen one of the lanes on the exit slip road above, this is not currently possible. We’d like to thank drivers for their continued patience while this work is ongoing.”
The agency is advising drivers to leave extra time for journeys.
Its current official advice to drivers on the northbound M32 who need to exit at the Eastville junction is to drive all the way to the Hambrook junction and come back down the southbound carriageway – a detour of more than five miles.