Press release

M56 weekend closure for £5.5m bridge work at Manchester Airport junction

Thorley Lane Bridge over the M56 near Manchester Airport will be demolished over the first weekend in August with a full closure of the motorway in both directions for up to 55 hours.


The Highways Agency is replacing the bridge, just west of junction 5 of the motorway. It closed in May and is being replaced in a £5.5m government ‘pinch-point’ initiative aimed at stimulating the creation of 3,000 new jobs at Davenport Green and Airport City by 2030 plus 5,650 homes around Altrincham, Bowdon and Hale by 2026.

Highways Agency Project Sponsor Mark Mosley said:

The existing bridge has weakened with age and has had a weight restriction on it for several years. As part of this important improvement project it will be demolished next month and we will need to close the carriageways over the first weekend in August for to allow us to do that safely.

The old bridge will be knocked down and taken away during a full closure of the M56 between junction 6 at Hale and junction 5 for Manchester Airport from 10pm on Friday 1 August and 5am on Monday 4 August.

Drivers on the westbound M56 will still be able to use junction 5 to get to Manchester Airport but people travelling eastbound will need to leave the motorway at junction 6 and take a short diversion via Runger Lane.

Drivers aiming to use the M56 to travel beyond Manchester Airport in either direction will be directed to use the M6, M62 and M60 instead via Lymm (M56), Croft (M62) and Eccles (M60) interchanges. Local diversions will also be in place.

More details of the diversion will be posted at the scheme’s dedicated webpage on the Highways Agency’s website.

Installation of the new bridge has been pencilled in for November with further weekend closures of the motorway.

The project is one of 123 in the Government’s £317 million ‘pinch-point’ initiative – a two-year programme of targeted work being delivered alongside larger schemes and routine maintenance and improvements along the strategic road network.

The pinch-point programme, devised with the input of councils and local enterprise partnerships, is designed to help stimulate new development and local economic growth by improving road safety and tackling congestion bottle-necks. In all, 28 projects, worth £66 million, are being delivered across the North West.

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 22 July 2014