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Lofthouse Interchange
junction M1 and M62, south of Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK
associated engineer
Sir Owen Williams & Partners
Babtie Group
date  1965 - 1967, 1996 - 12th February 1999
UK era  Modern  |  category  Road  |  reference  SE321261
Lofthouse Interchange is a three level junction between two motorways, where the M62 is carried west-east over the M1. It incorporates eight bridges and a roundabout.
The M62 overbridge has four spans with a reinforced concrete multi-cellular deck. Above the two motorways is the roundabout, supported on four long curved bridges of four spans each.
The other three bridges are near the north roundabout bridge. One takes Longthorpe Lane over the M1. The other two carry slip roads over Longthorpe Lane, and are three span prestressed reinforced concrete structures.
The larger north and south roundabout bridges have spans of 28m at a mean radius of 128m, carried by piers some 12m high. The east and west roundabout bridges have spans of around 21m and a similar curvature.
To cope with the risk of differential settlement of the foundations, owing to mine workings in the area, all the bridge spans are simply supported. Unfortunately, this exacerbates the problem of the bridges changing curvature with changing temperature. A system of three spherical bearings at each pier allows the decks and piers to move without transmitting excessive loading to adjacent parts of the structure.
The bridge deck is supported on mild steel curved box beams. Inner beams are rectangular, 1.2m deep and 600mm wide. Outer edge beams are trapezoidal, the outer web slopes for aesthetic reasons. Above the beams, a 230mm thick concrete slab completes the composite deck.
The prestressed reinforced concrete piers are formed from inverted 'L' shapes supported on their outer faces by precast inclined cruciform columns. They quickly became known as 'banana' piers.
In later years, two skew tunnels were constructed beneath the original junction to facilitate traffic travelling between the M1 north and the M62 west. The tunnels are reinforced concrete portal structures, built using the cut-and-cover method and engineered by the Babtie Group. The longer one under the M62 is 147m in length.
Throughout the tunnel work, three lanes of traffic flowed in each direction at peak times. The 3m contract was opened by the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, on 12th February 1999.
In 2004, Faber Maunsell undertook traffic congestion studies of the Lofthouse Interchange for the Highways Agency. This led to scheme recommendations, although the junction continues to be a traffic bottleneck.
The interchange was subject to further strengthening works in February-March 2005. Additional safety barriers were installed in September-November 2007.
Main contractor: S.M. Lovell
Contractor (1996-9): Kvaerner Construction / Balfour Beatty
Consulting engineers (2004-5): Faber Maunsell
Research: ECPK

Lofthouse Interchange