Drivers using the M56 through Cheshire are being urged to carefully plan journeys over a number of nights in September and October – especially if they are heading to Liverpool or Manchester airports.
Highways England is about to start £1.5 million of essential repairs on the viaduct which carries the motorway over the River Weaver and Weaver Navigation between junction 12 and junction 14 of the M56 near Frodsham.
As well as carriageway resurfacing, the wear and tear repairs include replacing a dozen manhole covers and 24 bridge joints – the mechanisms in the bridge deck which allow it to contract and expand safely during changes in weather conditions.
Highways England project manager Mark Mosley said:
These are essential, if routine, wear and tear repairs and will add time to people’s journeys. It’s vital that people plan their journeys carefully over the next few weeks – especially if they are heading to the region’s 2 main airports during a handful of overnight carriageway closures.
We run a very busy schedule of repair, maintenance and upgrading work across the whole network, and unfortunately it isn’t possible to organise everything we do to avoid the holiday season. This kind of work, by its nature, also needs to be done during drier periods.
Most of the work will be done overnight to minimise inconvenience to drivers but that will involve a handful of closures of either the eastbound or westbound carriageway between junction 12 at Runcorn and junction 14 at Hapsford. When a carriageway is closed, the work will take place between 9pm and 5am but any closures will only be introduced once traffic flows have dropped. Otherwise the work will be done with overnight lane closures – sometimes with a single lane open to traffic.
The project is due to start on Monday (15 August) for 8 weeks.
Closures of the eastbound or westbound carriageways between junction 14 and junction 12 are currently scheduled for late September and early October but the actual dates will be publicised nearer the time as schedules can change due to poor weather or other factors.
Robin Tudor, Head of PR for Liverpool John Lennon Airport said:
Passengers looking to travel to Liverpool John Lennon Airport using the M56 from parts of West Cheshire and North Wales, should allow for the additional travel time during these necessary improvement works to the Weaver Viaduct, to ensure that they arrive at the Airport in plenty of time for their flight departure.
Wayne Poole, Director of Landside Operations for Manchester Airport, said:
Whilst the work is scheduled to be carried out overnight, it is likely to impact passengers travelling to the airport for our first wave of departures early in the morning. We’d advise passengers to check the latest travel advice before they set off and allow additional time to make their journeys.
When a carriageway is closed, drivers diverted from the eastbound M56 at junction 14 can rejoin the motorway at junction 12 via the A5117, A56 and A557. The same diversion will operate in reverse on the 2 nights when the westbound carriageway is closed.
Drivers are advised to check traffic conditions before setting out on journeys. Highways England provides live traffic information via its website, local and national radio travel bulletins, electronic road signs and mobile apps. Information is also available from Twitter via @highwaysNWEST.
Providing they can do so safely, road users can also call the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000 to keep up to date with road conditions.
Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.
Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.