Work on the M56 Bowdon View Bridge replacement scheme has been extended to a third weekend, after Highways Agency engineers were unable to complete the construction of a pillar in the centre of the motorway to support the new bridge.
Engineers worked non-stop throughout the weekend to complete the demolition of the old bridge, which had become corroded.
Work began on Friday evening and was finished and the motorway re-opened to traffic by 3am on Monday 18 October. Up to eight machines were used to demolish the bridge with 2,500 tonnes of concrete and metal being shifted. The rubble will be reused on other construction sites.
Therefore, the agency will carry out the installation on Friday 22 October to Sunday 24 October, with the new £3.2m bridge now being put in place the weekend after, Friday 29 October to Monday 1 November. The image above shows the top of the pier for the new Bowdon View Bridge being brought to the site.
A giant multi-wheeled vehicle will jack-up the 1,830 tonne, 74-metre-long bridge, carry it 500 metres along the M56, and slowly manoeuvre it into place over the motorway. The construction of the new bridge has taken place on a site alongside the M56.
Matt Sweeting, regional performance manager at the Highways Agency, said: "A huge effort was put in this weekend to demolish the bridge but unfortunately we ran out of time to complete the pillar before we had to reopen the motorway to Monday morning rush hour traffic.
"This means we will have to extend the work into a third weekend. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause and advise drivers to allow extra time for their journeys. This is an essential scheme that is being carried out to ensure the long-term safety and reliability of journeys for all those who use this key route."
Drivers are reminded that the M56 junction 7 westbound exit will remain closed to traffic until the new bridge is installed.
To safely construct the central pillar to support the bridge, M56 will be closed eastbound from the junction with the M6 at junction 9 and westbound from junction 6 at Hale Barns from 10pm on Friday 22 October until 5am on Sunday 24 October.
There will then be a full weekend closure from 10pm on Friday 29 October until 5am on Monday 1 November so the new bridge deck can be moved in to place.
The Highways Agency said during the weekend closures for traffic travelling eastbound on the M56 towards Manchester there will be a clearly signed diversion via the M6, M62 and M60. For traffic travelling towards Manchester Airport the diversion will be via the M6 and A556.
Westbound traffic will be diverted off at junction 6 to return eastbound, then on to the M60, M62 and M6. The Highways Agency said all diversions will be clearly signed.
Below are photographs taken during the demolition work: