Finally, after 18 months of construction, the new A533 Expressway bridge between junction 11 and junction 12 of the M56 has opened to traffic, paving the way for demolition of the old bridge. 

The 67-metre, two-span concrete bridge – located near Runcorn in Cheshire – comprises a single two-lane carriageway and a combined footpath and cycleway. National Highways has described the project as “futureproofing a vital connection for residents, commuters and businesses”. 

Meanwhile, the old bridge – situated just two metres to the side of its replacement – has now closed, and is set to be demolished later in the spring. 

A momentous project for the area, “futureproofing connectivity over the M56” 

Sam Whitfield, project manager at National Highways, described the bridge as “vitally important to residents, commuters, and businesses on both sides of the motorway”, and a development “futureproofing connectivity over the M56 for many decades to come.

“Over the last 16 months, we have worked hard to minimise disruption to people using the bridge and motorway, but with the finishing line in sight, would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their patience.” 

National Highways has said that the older bridge, which is sandwiched between the new bridge and the arched railway bridge carrying the London to Liverpool West Coast mainline – has reached the end of its serviceable life. 

The government-owned company said a “delicate operation” would be undertaken to demolish the old bridge over the weekends beginning Friday 12th May and Friday 19th May. This will be with the aim of restoring the M56 underneath to normal running conditions, including the removal of narrowed lanes and a 50mph speed limit through the area. 

As for that bridge’s successor, it was constructed by Amey SM, a joint venture between the infrastructure services and engineering firm Amey and construction company Sir Robert McAlpine. 

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