May 16 (UPI) — The British army on Tuesday detonated a 500-pound World War II bomb that forced the evacuation of nearby homes and the closure of one of Birmingham’s busiest roads.
Construction workers found the bomb Monday morning at a construction site about 110 yards away from the Aston Expressway, or A38, which connects Birmingham to the M6 motorway. Officials closed the road after the discovery, which caused long delays for drivers. Rail services near the bomb were also canceled.
Nearby residents who were evacuated slept in a gym overnight. British police evacuated people and closed down businesses within about a third of a mile of the bomb. The Red Cross said about 80 people had to spend the night at the shelter.
The British army built a structure of sand — weighing about 250 tons — around the bomb before the controlled explosion at 3:45 p.m.
West Midland Police’s Chief Superintendent Chris Johnson later said the M6 near the Aston Expressway “reopened following successful controlled explosion. A38 remains closed but working to reopen ASAP. Thank you for support.”
Birmingham’s Network Rail said services “may” resume on Wednesday.
Steve Wheaton, an official for the West Midlands Ambulance Service, shared a video of the controlled explosion on social media.
— Steve Wheaton (@stevewhe) May 16, 2017