Drivers heading to Manchester Airport from across the north, Wales and the West Midlands are being reminded the M56 is closed for the whole weekend at the end of the month.
A new bridge is being installed between junction 6 at Hale and junction 5 at Manchester Airport with the motorway totally closed in both directions between these junctions between 10pm on Friday 27 February and 5am on Monday 2 March.
Unless they are travelling to Manchester Airport drivers are being urged to totally avoid the eastbound M56 beyond junction 9 at Lymm Interchange with the M6 and the westbound M56 away from Manchester during the weekend.
For drivers without legitimate airport journeys good and clearly-signed alternative motorway routes will be available. Anyone wanting to use the eastbound M56 towards Manchester should use the M6, M62 and M60 instead. Drivers wanting to use the westbound M56 out of Manchester – for example towards North Wales or the M6 to Birmingham or north – should use the M60, M62 and M6 diversion instead.
All drivers – but especially those heading to Manchester Airport for flights - are urged to leave extra time for journeys and check motorway conditions before setting out.
Highways Agency project manager Mark Mosley said,
It is vitally important drivers heed our advice and avoid using the eastbound M56 beyond junction 9 at Lymm or the westbound M56 away from Manchester unless they are going to Manchester Airport. If you are not going to the airport you will find it easier and quicker to use the official M6, M62, M60 diversion routes.
Anyone ignoring this advice will find themselves stuck in airport traffic with limited opportunities to turn back and take the proper diversion route.
Specific advice for drivers heading to Manchester airport from different areas includes:
- West Midlands drivers heading to Manchester Airport to use the normal route – exiting the M6 at junction 19 and joining the eastbound M56 via the A556. A short diversion to the airport will be in place from junction 6 of the M56. All other drivers – for example those heading into Manchester itself or beyond - must stay on the M6 and use the official M62 and M6 diversion route instead
- North Wales, Cheshire and Merseyside drivers heading to Manchester Airport to join or stay on the eastbound M56 as normal and use the short diversion route from junction 6. All other drivers – for example those heading into Manchester itself or beyond - must stay on the M6 and use the official M62 and M60 diversion route instead
- drivers heading to the airport from parts of Cheshire East and Greater Manchester will be able to use the westbound M56 and junction 5 exit for the airport as normal. All other traffic – for example drivers heading out of Manchester towards North Wales or to the M6 for Birmingham or the north - will need to use the M60, M62 and M6 diversion route. There will be no westbound access to the M56 beyond Manchester Airport
- anyone crossing the Pennines from West Yorkshire will still be able to take the usual M60 and M56 route to Manchester Airport – leaving the westbound M56 at junction 5. Again, there will be no westbound access to the M56 beyond Manchester Airport and drivers heading towards North Wales or the M6 for Birmingham will need to use the M60, M62 and M6 diversion route
- anyone from the North East heading south along the M6 – for example via the A66 at Penrith - and planning to reach the airport from the eastbound M56 towards Manchester can do so as normal but will need to use the short diversion to the airport in place from junction 6 at Hale. There will be no access into Manchester itself for drivers from the North East using the eastbound M56. Drivers from the North East heading to Manchester itself will need to use the M6, M62 and M60 diversion route. Drivers from the North East heading south along the M6 in Lancashire can alternatively use the M61 south of Preston and join the M60 route onto the westbound M56 to the airport
- drivers from Cumbria or Lancashire are advised to use the westbound M56 route to Manchester Airport – using the M60 from the M61 or M66 – rather than the eastbound M56 from Lymm Interchange
More information – including maps of the diversion route and advice for local traffic - is available on the scheme website.
All 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.
Manchester Airport is urging people travelling to the airport to plan ahead and leave extra time for journeys.
Members of the public should contact the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000.
Journalists should contact the Highways Agency press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.