Disused road bridge in Widnes set to be demolished with diversions in place
A 400-metre section of Hutchinson Street in Widnes will be closed for a week from 23 July to 29 July whilst the Desoto Road bridge near to Stobarts and the Tesco Distribution Centre is demolished as part of the Mersey Gateway Project.
Hutchinson Street will be closed between Wandsworth Way and Desoto Road roundabout from 7pm on Sunday 23 July. It is scheduled to reopen the following weekend.
The Desoto Road bridge is shown crossing Hutchinson Street and the rail line in the bottom right of the above picture
There will be a number of signed diversions in place directing traffic to avoid the closure, but the diversions will be busy and drivers should allow extra time for journeys in this area during the demolition works of the double span road and rail bridge.
There will be no change to the main diversion routes that traffic travelling to or from the Silver Jubilee Bridge is currently using to get to and from either Speke Road heading towards Liverpool or towards the Widnes Eastern Bypass.
The footpath which runs alongside this section of Hutchinson Street will also be closed during the works. A footpath diversion will be put in place via Wandsworth Way, Dock Road and Macdermott Road to maintain access on foot to and from the area but this will be longer than the current route.
The demolition work involves the removal of a 72-metre long by 32-metre wide section of road – the Desoto Bridge – which used to connect traffic to the Silver Jubilee Bridge but is no longer in use. The road bridge is six lanes wide and constructed out of a 230mm thick concrete deck supported by two large concrete abutment walls and a reinforced central wall.
The construction team will use the same methodology that they used to demolish the Ditton Road Bridge last year. They will install special timber bog mats to protect the road surface and rail line before they begin the demolition works.
Excavators will then break through the bridge deck which will be allowed to fall onto the sterile area of the timer bog mats beneath. The 19 girders, weighing in at around 44 tonnes, and the three supporting walls will then be removed individually before the ground is cleared and Hutchinson Street is re-opened to traffic.
Hugh O’Connor, General Manager of Merseylink, said: “This significant piece of work will be carried out around the clock to minimise disruption to commuters and businesses. We only do overnight working when it is essential and we are confident that the location and any noise and light coming from the works will cause minimal disruption to residents.”
Cllr Rob Polhill, Leader of Halton Borough Council, said: “This is an essential part of the project and I’d just like to ask everyone to bear with us while these works are ongoing and to watch out for the new diversions that will be in place for a week from 23 July. The new bridge is on track to open in the autumn so we are getting very close to seeing the benefits that the new bridge and the hugely improved approach road system will bring to Halton.”