New year works mark final push for Mersey Gateway as key routes open
The final calendar year of construction for the Mersey Gateway Project will get underway in earnest in January with three major routes opening and a series of temporary road closures.
The routes from both the Daresbury and Bridgewater Expressways to the southbound Central Expressway, towards Halton Lea, will both open 8 weeks ahead of schedule on 22 December 2016. Drivers will be able to use the new Bridgewater Junction to reach the Central Expressway.
The image above shows the new Bridgewater Junction under construction, with the Central Expressway shown to the left.
The slip road from Weston Link to Weston Point Expressway southbound (towards M56 Junction 12) (shown below) will also reopen on 23 December 2016.
From 3 January 2017 the northbound Central Expressway between Halton Brow and Bridgewater Junction will close for three months – which means there will be no direct access from the northbound Central Expressway to the Bridgewater Expressway. A signed diversion will be in place.
The link from the Central Expressway to the Bridgewater Expressway is being closed whilst the road bridge over the Bridgewater Canal is repaired.
The start of January will also see a lane closure on a short stretch of the southbound A557 Weston Point Expressway as it approaches the M56 junction 12 between Rocksavage Interchange and Weston Point Junction for up to 8 weeks. Traffic will be reduced to single lane running during peak and off peak periods.
There is no official diversion route as the road will still be open but we recommend that motorists who are planning to travel eastbound along the M56 towards Warrington, Manchester and the M6 head along the Bridgewater and Daresbury Expressways and use junction 11 of the M56 to continue their journey. This will help to minimise any disruption to journey times whilst this essential work is undertaken.
This is required because the construction team is removing part of Rocksavage Bridge West in the area.
The centrepiece of the Mersey Gateway Project – a new six lane toll bridge linking Widnes and Runcorn – is due to open in autumn 2017. At this point the Silver Jubilee Bridge will be closed for between nine and 12 months whilst it is refurbished with enhanced crossing facilities for pedestrians and cyclists. The Silver Jubilee Bridge will also be tolled when it re-opens.
Hugh O’Connor, General Manager for Merseylink, said: “We’re very pleased to be opening the links between the Daresbury and Bridgewater Expressways and the Central Expressway ahead of schedule. As we move into 2017 we’re starting quite an intense final phase of the works but the good news is that this coming year will see more and more roads re-opening and ultimately see the new bridge open to traffic in the autumn.”