Motorway users began driving along the new Bowdon View bridge for the first time on Monday night, after three weekend closures along the M56 for demolition and installation work.
The motorway reopened as planned at 5am Monday morning. However, minor technical issues in installing the 1,800 tonne new bridge deck on Saturday meant the reopening of the Junction 7 westbound link from the M56 to the A556 was delayed until 5.30pm on Monday.
The bridge is part of the link between the M56 and the M6, via the A556.
Matt Sweeting, Highways Agency regional performance manager, said: "We always try to delay roadworks to accommodate football fans but this is a very busy commuter route during the week and we had very little alternative but to do this work at the weekends with a full closure of the motorway.
"We would like to thank everyone, including football supporters, for their patience and support in heeding travel advice, following the diversions and allowing us to get on with demolishing the old bridge and installing the new one.
"We would like to apologise for the extra inconvenience yesterday. Although the junction has been closed for two weeks we wanted to ensure the link and the bridge reopened at the same time as the rest of the motorway but minor issues in settling the bridge into place meant a delay in finishing the work.
"The Highways Agency has worked very hard over the last month to keep motorway users and stakeholders informed of diversions, as well as progress with the project, and we would also like to thank our local football clubs, councils and other organisations like Manchester Airport for helping us get those messages across."
Sweeting added that the new bridge has been installed as a solution to long-running problems with the old Bowdon View bridge, which was subject to lane and weight restrictions and closures over the last few years.
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