Smart Formwork Construction Used for Smart Motorways

Berkshire, United Kingdom

Proven Formwork Technology for Intelligent Transport Systems 

Smart Motorways has been a leader in intelligent transportation planning in the United Kingdom since 2006. This intelligent transport system was designed to use sophisticated traffic management technology, which has been proven to increase capacity and reduce heavily congested areas. To maximize the benefits of the Smart Motorway ideology, upgrading the network of existing roads requires highly engineered solutions that, in some cases, includes concrete construction techniques using state-of-the-art formwork.  

Construction of Smart Motorway

A Smart motorway uses the hard shoulder as a running lane of traffic, and overhead signals regulate the traffic flow by slowing or speeding up traffic based on cameras further down the road. Smart motorways have decreased the environmental impact plus the time and costs associated when constructing additional lanes. There are more than 400 miles (640 km) of smart motorways in the United Kingdom, with an additional 300 miles (480 km) planned by 2025.  


Formwork Solution for Road Widening & Bridge Construction

The M4 Smart Motorway is a primary route connecting London to the country’s Southwest. The project to upgrade Junctions 3 through 12 to a Smart Motorway included widening areas of the road and introducing management features to improve the flow of an estimated 130,000 vehicles per day.  

Sword Contracts | Dedicated to Being on Time and Within Budget

Sword Contracts Ltd of Kent, United Kingdom, is executing the work to bring the M4 Smart Motorway upgrades to life. Sword Contracts prides itself on a dedicated workforce, excellent standards of workmanship, and delivering every project in which they are involved on time and within budget. The project involves installing several replacement bridges and widening the large Thames Bray Bridge that carries the M4 Smart Motorway over the river.  

Formwork for Modifying Bridges

EFCO was chosen to provide the cast-in-place concrete formwork solution for constructing and modifying the new bridges at Marsh Lane, Ascot Road, Monkey Island, Recreation Ground Road, Datchet Road, and Thames Bray. EFCO engineers designed the EFCO PLATE GIRDER® and E-BEAM® & SUPER STUD® systems to quickly construct the bases, abutments, piers, and wing walls. The EFCO SUPER STUD® parapet system is an ideal solution providing the construction crew with a safe and reliable system for the deck work required over traffic.  

The project was completed on time and within budget early in 2022. Jimmy Goodwin, Swords Contract Manager, said this about their experience using EFCO.


It is a testament to the strength of the Sword/EFCO supply chain that despite the bulk of this project occurring during the height of a national lockdown, we were able to deliver designs, solutions, and on-site operations to the challenging schedule. The M4 Smart Motorway project will be completed ahead of time and to the highest standard.

EFCO Equipment






Nick Williams, District Manager

Colin Walker, Sr. Field Supervisor

James Wood, Engineer

Stuart De Freyne, Engineer



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Frazer Sword, Owner

Jimmy Goodwin, Project Manager

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