Mersey Gateway Project – 2016 – a year of progress in pictures
It has been an incredible year of progress for the construction team delivering the Mersey Gateway Project. The cable stay bridge pylons are complete and the deck over the river with its supporting cables is now growing in length every day, and there have been hugely significant changes to the road network across both Runcorn and Widnes.
We know that these essential roadworks can cause delays to people’s journeys but the design and magnitude of this project means that this has been inevitable in order to create the new bridge route safely to enable the ultimate transport, economic and social benefits it will help bring to Halton and the wider region.
We’d like to thank everyone for their patience and for continuing to drive safely through the roadworks and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
The aerial pictures below – taken in December 2015 and again this month – show just how much things have changed during 2016.
The 2015 picture for each section appears first, with the latest image underneath.
Ditton Flyover has gone! In its place, we are developing a new Ditton Junction which will allow traffic to head into Widnes and connect to the new Mersey Gateway Bridge and the Silver Jubilee Bridge.
These pictures are taken looking south east along the line of the main route from Liverpool to the new bridge – you can see the section of road bridge crossing Ditton Junction that will carry traffic to and from the new bridge towards Liverpool. West Bank Bears rugby club is shown to the top right.
The northern approach viaduct
Trinity – the first of our two movable scaffold systems (MSS) – is just finishing her work on the north approach viaduct across the saltmarsh in Widnes, and the wing traveller, which builds the outer parts of the road deck, is following on quickly behind as planned.
The picture from December 2015 shows Trinity being assembled and getting ready to start her journey at the north side of the St Helens Canal – you can see just how far the team has come.
The main bridge
Looking north across the River Mersey you can see that a year ago the pylons were just starting to emerge from their foundations, whereas now they are all at full height and work has started on building the bridge deck outwards from each pylon and installing the stay cables.
The temporary trestle bridge and access roads across the saltmarsh – which run alongside the main route, just to its right, and the cofferdams beneath it – will be removed shortly after the new bridge opens.
The south pylon
The 125-metre high south pylon looks spectacular in the estuary today, but a year ago it had hardly begun to appear above the surface of the bridge deck. New stay cables are being added every week as construction work continues to gather pace.
The north and central pylons are also now at full height (110 metres and 80 metres respectively) with work on installing stay cables also continuing at a pace at the north pylon.
Bridgewater Junction and Astmoor Viaduct
Looking south across Runcorn from the Manchester Ship Canal to the Central Expressway, these pictures show the new look (and partially opened) Bridgewater Junction that will connect the Bridgewater and Daresbury Expressways to the Central Expressway and the new bridge.
You can clearly see the eventual route of the main road from the new bridge as it crosses the Astmoor Industrial Estate, with Webster, our Runcorn MSS, visible in the bottom right of the picture.
Lodge Lane and Weston Point Junction
Lodge Lane Junction is continuing to undergo significant change. These pictures are looking north east, with the Central Expressway heading towards Runcorn Shopping Centre and the new bridge heading out of shot to the top left.
The old circular link taking traffic from Weston Link to the Southern Expressway has been demolished, and we are removing the tight bends and creating a free-flowing approach to the new bridge in its place.
Construction of the new Lodge Lane Bridge is going well – the beams have all been placed and we expect to see this re-open in the spring of 2017. At the Weston Point Junction, demolition of the Rocksavage West Bridge starts of 9 January 2017.
M56 Junction 12
The new ‘hamburger’ junction is in place, providing a through junction with up to three lanes in each direction on final completion.
These pictures look north towards Runcorn from just to the south of the M56 and show how the revised road network through Widnes and Runcorn links up to the main motorway network to the south of Halton.