The M53 will close for the whole weekend next week to carry out slip road repairs and install a new bridge at junction 2 at Moreton, west of Birkenhead.
The motorway will be closed in both directions between 10pm on Friday 17 April and 5am on Monday 20 April as one of the bridges which carry the junction slip roads over the motorway will be lifted away from its bearings and removed in preparation for a new bridge deck to be installed later this year.
Drivers are being advised the southbound M53 will be closed between junction 1 and junction 3 with the northbound closed at junction 2 only with drivers asked to use a short ‘off and on’ diversion.
Highways England is also advising drivers that work on the project, which started in February and was due to be completed by early June, is now likely to continue until August due to unforeseen technical issues.
Anyone seeking to use the M53 over the weekend closure is being advised that clearly-signed diversions will be in place but that traffic on the alternative routes is likely to be heavy especially during the daytime.
Drivers are also being advised to avoid using the Wallasey (Kingsway) tunnel north of junction 1 of the motorway and to use the Birkenhead (Queensway) tunnel instead if they are crossing the Mersey as part of their journey.
Anyone using the southbound M53 will be diverted off the motorway at junction 1 and will need to rejoin the motorway at junction 3. From junction 1 drivers should follow the ‘open diamond’ symbol and use the northbound A554, westbound A551 Leasowe Road, southbound A551 Upton Road and Arrowe Park Road and finally the eastbound A552 Woodchurch Road to junction 3.
Anyone travelling northbound along the M53 will be able to use an ‘off and on’ diversion – leaving the motorway at junction 2 and travelling west to the roundabout at Upton bypass where they can join the eastbound carriageway and re-join the northbound M53 from the entry slip road at junction 2.
Highways England is also urging drivers to avoid using Halton Council’s Silver Jubilee Bride at Runcorn to travel between the M56 and M62 over the weekend as bridge maintenance will mean single lane running in both directions between Friday night and Sunday night.
Drivers are urged to check travel conditions before setting out on journeys. Highways England 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 @HighwaysNWEST.
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.
The dedicated webpage for the project – http://www.highways.gov.uk/roads/road-projects/M53-Moreton-East-and-South-Bridge-Strengthening-Scheme - is updated regularly and drivers can sign up to personal email alerts when updates are available.
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.
Members of the public should contact the Information Line on 0300 123 5000.
Journalists should contact the press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.