Work underway on £23m road bridge project over M56 in Cheshire
The main construction work in a £23 million project to provide a new road bridge over the M56 in Cheshire is now underway.
National Highways is replacing the A533 Expressway bridge near Runcorn with a new crossing just a few metres further up the motorway.
Road workers moved onto the site after the Christmas holiday period to start building a site compound and install safety barriers along the M56.
The bridge, between Junction 11 and Junction 12, provides a vital connection for people living or working on both sides of the motorway so it can’t be demolished until the new one has opened.
Over the next few weeks bridge and motorway users will see activities ramping up significantly.
Kennedy Muzira, National Highways’ senior programme leader for the North West, said: “We’re delighted this important project to replace the A533 Expressway bridge is now underway.
“This is a complicated and exciting engineering challenge for us but minimising inconvenience to the thousands of people who rely on the bridge and the M56 for their journeys every day will be at the forefront of our minds over the next year or so.”
The existing structure was built in 1971 and is being replaced with a new 67m two-span concrete bridge, consisting of a single two-lane carriageway and a combined footpath and cycleway.
The bridge aims to ‘connect communities and businesses’ over the motorway and supporting investment in jobs and housing.
Off-peak stop-go boards are in place for the rest of the week on the bridge itself for site investigations.
Work to install the temporary safety barrier in the hard shoulders and a 50mph speed limit along the M56 started on Monday (January 10).
One of the main challenges for National Highways and AmeySRM is demolishing the old bridge once it is between the new one and the existing railway structure which serves the West Coast main line.
Major internet and water services are also carried across the motorway by the existing bridge and are having to be diverted.
This month’s work along the motorway includes:
- Nightly and weekend lane closures to install the temporary safety barriers along the eastbound and westbound carriageways
- The weekend lane closures taking place in the eastbound carriageway this weekend (January 14 – January 17) and in the westbound carriageway next weekend (January 21 – January 24).
- Overnight: 11pm to 6am Sunday to Monday – full carriageway closures on each of the two weekends – eastbound Sunday to Monday 16 and 17 January and westbound on Sunday to Monday 23 and 24 January. A clearly-signed diversion will be in place between junction 11 and junction 12 using the A558 and A553 expressways on the Runcorn side of the motorway.
The motorway will need to be closed for two weekends – in the spring and autumn – for installation of the new bridge and demolition of the old one.