Central Expressway seven-month closure plans confirmed as Weston Link re-opens this month
A section of the Central Expressway in Runcorn is to be closed for around seven months from 30 November with separate north and southbound diversions put in place.
The Halton South footbridge (known locally as the Asda footbridge) which crosses the Central Expressway connecting Runcorn Shopping Centre to Halton Lodge, will close for three months at same time for essential repairs and improvements.
A diversion via Halton Lodge footbridge will be in place. The footbridge is scheduled to close on 30 November and re-open in February 2016.
The westbound Weston Link which has been shut since March 2015 will re-open to make it easier for motorists travelling from the Southern Expressway to get to the Weston Point Expressway throughout the closure.
Closure of the Central Expressway between Halton Lea Interchange and Lodge Lane Interchange
The closure of the southern section of the Central Expressway between Halton Lea and Lodge Lane interchange in both directions is essential as part of the ongoing work to build and upgrade the approach roads for the new bridge at the centre of the Mersey Gateway Project.
This closure was initially due to begin earlier, but was postponed until the westbound Weston Link was re-opened allowing for separate diversion routes for northbound and southbound traffic in the area
The northbound slip road from the Halton Lea junction to the Central Expressway will also re-open by 30 November as part of this work, making it easier for people to get from Runcorn Shopping Centre to the northern part of Runcorn and on towards Widnes.
Shoppers and workers will still be able to access Runcorn Shopping Centre from the north and the south as they do now.
The northbound diversion, intended for the Central Expressway, will be diverted via Weston Link and the Weston Point Expressway.
The southbound diversion is via the Halton Lea junction and Runcorn Shopping Centre to the Central Expressway. Northway will be made two way, and new planned road traffic improvements in this area are already underway.
The Central Expressway closure is expected to remain in place until June 2016.
It will still be possible to travel from Weston Link onto the Southern Expressway towards Hallwood Junction until early in 2016, at which point that link will be closed, and traffic will be diverted via the Halton Lea junction.
Hugh O’Connor, General Manager of Merseylink, said: “We’ve changed the sequencing of the work in this area so we could open the westbound Weston Link before closing part of the Central Expressway route. This has allowed us to provide different diversions for north and southbound traffic and ensure that we maintain good access for people travelling to and from Runcorn Shopping Centre.”
Major works to take place
The closure will see three major phases of work completed in the area before the road is scheduled to re-open next summer. The scale, nature and complexity of the work involved, and the number of residential areas nearby make it impossible to do the work at night time or during off peak hours.
Merseylink has submitted an application to Halton Borough Council to extend its Saturday working hours along the length of the Central Expressway route so the team can work from 7am to 5pm in the area if needed.
Whilst it is shut to traffic the Merseylink construction team will:
- build a remodelled Lodge Lane Interchange with new roads linking the Central Expressway with Weston Link and the Southern Expressway
- remove the ‘loop’ section of road at Lodge Lane Interchange that currently connects the Central Expressway, Weston Link and the Southern Expressway
- raise the level of the Central Expressway by an average of a metre in height and re-route utility cables underneath the road
- build a new footbridge over the realigned Central Expressway at Halton Lodge and remove the current footbridge
- refurbish and repair the Halton South footbridge
When it is finished, the work will create a new free-flowing north to south route linking the new bridge and the Central Expressway with Weston Link and on to Junction 12 of the M56.
Traffic will also still be able to travel to and from the Southern Expressway to the Central Expressway when the new road system is complete.