Next phase of M53 bridge repair work to start

Continuing work on the supporting beams of Bidston Moss Viaduct in Wirral will mean various road closures for the M53 between May and October.

The Highways Agency said road closures around Junction 1 of the M53 will start after the May Bank Holiday weekend.

The next phase of work begins on 31 May and will see bridge deck repairs and waterproofing and drainage improvements. The completion date for the £70m scheme is spring 2012.

The Highways Agency said once the work is completed the improvements to the viaduct, which is part of the main route into the Kingsway Tunnel linking Wirral to Liverpool, will lift the current weight restrictions and help to reduce congestion, and improve lighting and drainage.

The Highways Agency added that although traffic diversions to or from Kingsway Tunnel will be in operation, the tunnel will remain open to traffic for the duration of the works at the Bidston Moss viaduct.

Graham Dakin, Highways Agency project manager, said: "The viaduct is the main route into the Kingsway Tunnel and is used by over 50,000 vehicles daily, including 3,000 heavy goods vehicles. The improvements we are making will allow the viaduct to operate at its full capacity, allowing vehicles over 3.5 tonnes back onto all parts of the viaduct.

"In order to complete the scheme, a number of lane or carriageway closures will be in place around junction 1 of the M53 from Tuesday 31 May until scheme completion in spring 2012. The closures are needed to provide a safe working area for the workforce and to ensure the safety of road users.

Closure details for proposed phases of the works are as follows:

  • Phase one: 31 May to 14 July – Full closure of M53 northbound entry slip and lane 1 of A5139 Docks Link North from Junction 1 roundabout to Kingsway Tunnel approach slip. Traffic will be diverted from M53 Junction 1 via A554, A553 Hoylake Road and A5088 Wallasey Bridge Road to Poulton Bridge Road roundabout to rejoin the M53 at the Kingsway Tunnel approach road. Duration: 7 weeks
  • Phase two: 15 July to 11 August – Full closure of northbound M53 link onto the A5139 Docks Link Road and full closure of the northbound carriageway of A5139 Docks Link Road to Poulton Bridge Road roundabout. Diversion from M53 Junction 1 via A554, A553 Hoylake Road and A5088 Wallasey Bridge Road to Poulton Bridge Road roundabout. Duration: 5 weeks
  • Phase three: 12 August to 29 September – Full closure of southbound exit slip from A5139 Docks Link Road to M53 Junction 1 roundabout and overnight closures of Docks Link Road from Poulton Bridge Road roundabout to A5139 southbound exit slip. Diversion via Gorsey Lane, Dock Road, A5088 Wallasey Bridge Road, A553 Hoylake Road and A554 to M53 Junction 1. Duration: 7 weeks
  • Phase four: 30 September to 25 October – Full closure of the southbound link from A5139 Docks Link Road to M53 southbound and overnight closures of Docks Link Road from Kingsway Tunnel approach. Diversion via Gorsey Lane, Dock Road, A5088 Wallasey Bridge Road, A553 Hoylake Road and A554 to M53 Junction 1. Duration: 5 weeks
  • Phase five: Early 2012 – M53 northbound offslip and southbound onslip overnight closures and lane closures of Junction 1 roundabout. Diversion via A554, A551 to M53 Junction 2. Duration: 4 weeks

The scheme was jointly developed by Wirral Council, Merseytravel and the Highways Agency.

Design and preparatory site work started at the beginning of 2009 with Costain appointed as the contractor.

The Department for Transport is covering a majority of the cost.

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Hopefully this will be the end of the problems to this bridge.

By Henry

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