The two roads, opened in the 1970s as part of Liverpool’s abandoned inner ring road scheme, will be demolished in the summer after a review found both were “no longer adequate to carry vehicles or pedestrians”.
The flyovers link Lime Street to both Dale Street and Tithebarn Street, and run directly behind the city’s museums on William Brown Street.
They have been closed since the end of September 2018 pending a review after design and construction flaws were uncovered. Remedial works were previously carried out in the 1980s, in 2005, and in 2013.
Following the most recent review, engineers from Amey have found a series of construction flaws, including corrosion in tendons and ducts, along with signs of structural distress including cracking over some of the flyovers’ supports.
Demolition is now seen as the only option, given strengthening of the structures is “not feasible” and the cost of replacing them was found to be prohibitive.
The cost of replacement has been estimated at between £50m and £60m, while demolition is expected to cost a tenth of that at £5.7m.
Demolition is expected to start in the summer, and to alleviate increased traffic flows by the loss of the flyovers, Liverpool City Council will now look to develop proposals to improve the Queensway Tunnel roundabout and the Hunter Street interchange. This is expected to cost £10m.
The footbridges across Hunter Street will be fitted with temporary ramps to allow pedestrians to cross the road and minimise the impact on traffic flow.
Cllr James Noakes, Liverpool City Council’s cabinet member for highways, said: “The Churchill Way flyovers are a relic of a plan from half a century ago that was never completed.
“Public safety is absolutely paramount and despite the obvious inconvenience the demolition will cause, we can’t compromise on safety and it is simply not economically viable to make them safe.
“Although there has been an increase in traffic at peak times in and around the Queensway Tunnel as a result of the closure, the city has been able to cope with it.
“What we will now be doing is working up detailed designs for junction improvements which will help deal with the removal of the flyovers.
“Our analysis shows that it helps support our City Centre Connectivity Scheme and particularly makes it easier for vehicles to exit the proposed new bus hub.
“We will be working hard to keep all of our city centre stakeholders and the public informed at every step of the way.”
Trevor Cherryholme, principal project Manager, Amey Consulting, said: “The safety of the public is our primary concern and our inspection of the Churchill Way Flyovers found that they are no longer adequate to carry vehicles or pedestrians.
“Our primary areas of concern are the poor quality of original construction, subsequent deterioration and the current signs of structural distress.
“More specifically, poor steel placement and spalled concrete, collapsed or failed formwork, failed drainage and signs of overstress in the deck are among our most significant findings.
“It is our view that there is no safe option other than demolition.”