Central Expressway to reopen in Runcorn this week
The main carriageway of the A533 Central Expressway is to re-open as the team working on the Mersey Gateway Project continues to progress activity in the area ahead of the new six-lane toll bridge opening in the autumn.
This week drivers will be able to use the main carriageway of the Central Expressway in both directions all the way between the Southern Expressway and the Bridgewater/Daresbury Expressways. Access to the main carriageway from some slip roads remains closed.
When the new bridge opens later this year the Central Expressway will be the main access route between the new bridge and junction 12 of the M56.
The re-opened road and the subsequent view of the three main bridge pylons in the river will give drivers a real idea of how it will feel to approach the new bridge from the Runcorn side of the river.
Work has been ongoing on various parts of the Central Expressway for the past 18 months to improve the layout of various junctions and to provide a free-flowing approach to the new bridge.
Construction activity is continuing in the Lodge Lane area to complete the new link from the Central Expressway to Weston Link and on towards the M56.
Hugh O’Connor, General Manager of the Merseylink Consortium, said: “There have been significant improvements taking place up and down the length of the Central Expressway to create a free-flowing route to and from the new bridge. We’ve also improved the junction layouts in the area and our team is working hard to put the finishing touches to this route so it can open in March.”
He added: “I would like to remind everyone though that until the full road network is open later this year that people should still allow extra time to complete their journeys. It will only be once all routes are open that we will be able to see the full benefits from the redeveloped road network.”
Cllr Rob Polhill, Leader of Halton Borough Council, said: “I’m pleased that this important route is going to be open soon as it is another demonstration that the project remains on track to open this autumn.”
Drivers can keep up to date with traffic management issues around Widnes and Runcorn by listening and watching for new alerts on road signage and social media, or by visiting the Down Your Street section on the Mersey Gateway website.
The economic, transport and social benefits the project will bring to the region include:
- 470 permanent full-time equivalent jobs on site during construction
- 4,640 permanent direct and indirect jobs
- ]£61.9 million a year in Gross Value Added from the new jobs by 2030.
When it opens in 2017, both the new bridge and the Silver Jubilee Bridge will be tolled, but they will be free* to Halton residents.