Press release

£2.8 million M53 bridge repairs underway

Drivers in Merseyside are being reminded the £2.8 million project to restore junction 2 of the M53 to its full capacity started last night (Thursday 5 February).

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The Highways Agency work at Moreton, west of Birkenhead, involves removing weight restrictions and reinstating lanes at the junction.

Highways Agency project sponsor Louise Baxendale said:

There will be some disruption to journeys while we carry out the work but we have been working closely with partners like Wirral Council, Merseytravel and the police to agree timings and suitable diversion routes. We urge drivers to plan their journeys and keep an eye on traffic conditions around the junction.

The existing slip road bridges have weakened with age. In August 2011 a maximum weight limit of 7.5 tonnes was introduced and the link road reduced to a single lane. The bridges must be strengthened to re-open the link road with to its full capacity of 2 running lanes and a hard shoulder.

The work – expected to take between four and five months - includes renewing two new bridges which carry the junction slip roads over the main motorway carriageway. This requires the southbound exit and entry slip roads to be closed for much of the project.

Diversion routes for the closures are already fully-signed with drivers seeking to join the southbound M53 from junction 2 advised to follow the ‘hollow diamond’ symbol – joining the northbound carriageway, travelling to junction 1 and joining the southbound carriageway from the roundabout junction.

Drivers seeking to leave the southbound M53 at junction 2 are advised to follow the ‘solid black square’ symbol which will take them to junction 3 where they can exit, use the junction roundabout to join the northbound carriageway and travel up to the northbound exit slip at junction 2.

Some overnight closures of the northbound slip roads will also be taking place with at least two weekend closures of the M53 itself which will be publicised in advance. A 50mph speed limit and narrowed lanes will be in place in both directions along the M53 through junction 2.

Drivers are urged to check travel conditions before setting out on journeys. The Highways Agency provides live traffic information via its website www.highways.gov.uk/traffic, local and national radio travel bulletins, electronic road signs and mobile platforms, such as the iPhone. Local Twitter services are also available at @HAtraffic_nwest.

Providing they can do so safely, road users can also call the Highways Agency Information Line (0300 123 5000) to keep up to date with road conditions.

A dedicated webpage for the project is on the Highways Agency’s website.

Merseytravel, which operates the Mersey tunnels, is advising people travelling to and from Liverpool that the Queensway (Birkenhead) tunnel offers an alternative route and will be available throughout the work apart from during scheduled maintenance closures. More information is available on the Merseytravel website.

General enquiries

Members of the public should contact the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000.

Media enquiries

Journalists should contact the Highways Agency press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.

Published 6 February 2015