National Highways’ newest bridge will open to drivers next week – ‘future-proofing a vital connection for residents, commuters and businesses’ across the M56 near Runcorn in Cheshire, according to the organisation.
The completion of the 18-month project will see the new A533 Expressway bridge between junction 11 and junction 12 of the M56 opening to traffic on Monday (17 April) and the old bridge demolished later. The new, 67-metre, two-span concrete bridge, consisting of a single two-lane carriageway and a combined footpath and cycleway, will help support communities and businesses for decades to come. The current bridge, just two metres to the side of the new one, will close this weekend in readiness for its demolition later this spring.
National Highways is advising drivers that there will be no access over the M56 via either bridge this weekend. The old bridge will close at 9pm on Friday night (14 April) and work will then take place over the weekend to link the A533 carriageways on both sides of the motorway to the new bridge. The new bridge is expected to open to drivers by 6am on Monday (17 April).
National Highways project manager Sam Whitefield said: “A bridge here is vitally important to residents, commuters and businesses on both sides of the motorway and we are delighted the new bridge will open next week – future-proofing connectivity over the M56 for many years to come.
“Over the last 16 months we have worked hard to minimise disruption to people using the bridge and motorway but with the finishing line in sight would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their patience.”
The old bridge is sandwiched between the new one and the prominent arched railway bridge carrying the London to Liverpool West Coast mainline. After the new bridge opens next week all that remains is a delicate operation to demolish the old bridge and return the M56 underneath to normal running conditions – removing narrowed lanes and a 50-mph speed limit through the area.
The bridge demolition – which will require two full weekend closures of the motorway and new A533 Expressway bridge – is scheduled for the weekends beginning Friday May 12 and Friday May 19. More information will be issued nearer the time.