Press release

New £5.5 million M56 bridge to open to drivers

A new £5.5 million bridge over the M56 near Manchester Airport is due to open to drivers next Wednesday (1 April 2015).


The new wider bridge on Thorley Lane, which links Davenport Green to the airport, will open on 1 April and is designed to help support 3,000 new jobs in the area by 2030 as well as lead to the development of over 5,500 new homes.

The Highways Agency closed a section of the motorway for an entire weekend last month while contractors lifted the 1,500 tonne structure into place by junction 5 of the motorway.

They completed the installation eight hours ahead of schedule, with the motorway reopening at 9pm on Sunday 1 March. A time-lapse video showing the 90-metre-long bridge being lowered into place has now been released on YouTube showing the scale of the project:


Mark Mosley, Project Manager at the Highways Agency, said:

The link over the motorway between Davenport Green and the airport has been closed for nearly a year now so we’re delighted to be able to announce that the new bridge is ready to be opened.

The bridge is the length of a football pitch and the weight of over 1,000 family cars so it’s been a significant project lifting it into place. There are no weight restrictions on the new structure and it’s much wider, so should help to support the development of the area around Manchester Airport.

We’d like to thank drivers and local residents for their patience while the work has been taking place, and for using alternative routes when the motorway and Thorley Lane was closed. The new bridge will benefit local businesses, and should help to boost both the local and regional economy.

The old bridge, just west of junction 5 of the motorway, had a weight restriction preventing its use by lorries, and closed last May ahead of its demolition.

The project to install the new bridge is one of 121 in the Government’s £300 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 bottlenecks. In all, 30 projects, worth £66 million, are taking place 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 26 March 2015