Benefits for all in £4.7m Bowdon View Bridge finishing works
Everyone using the M56 around Junction 7 will benefit from the next phase of the Highways Agency’s improvement scheme following the installation of the new Bowdon View Bridge earlier this month.
That was the promise from the Highways Agency today after the latest, four and a half month, phase of the project, got underway last week (Monday, November 15).
Disruption and inconvenience to motorway users will be kept to a minimum during the roadworks along the westbound slip road and main carriageway. The work is due to finish by the end of March and includes:
- Turning a section of the westbound hard shoulder into a dedicated slip road onto the new bridge, increasing capacity and reducing congestion in the junction through-lanes
- Restoring two running lanes along the slip road and over the new bridge
- Restoring three lanes to the westbound carriageway – including under the bridge – and a second ‘tiger tail’ entry onto the new slip road from lane one
- Restoring three lane running along the eastbound carriageway under the new bridge.
After three weekend closures of the motorway in October the new bridge opened on Monday, November 1, but the Highways Agency is promising a significant reduction in any inconvenience and disruption to journeys for the remaining works.
Matt Sweeting, the Highways Agency’s Regional Performance Manager, said, “Remodelling the westbound carriageway will provide a significant increase in capacity ahead of the junction and will reduce congestion for drivers – especially those simply travelling past Junction 7. The work will also restore two lanes across the bridge.
“To do all this we will need about three overnight closures of the westbound slip road when traffic is very light but other than that we will avoid lane closures wherever possible.
“We also need to install four large sign gantries across the main carriageway but to avoid further overnight closures we are planning to do that by using very quick rolling road blocks – minimising inconvenience to motorway users.
“The rolling road blocks will be timed to take place during the early hours of the morning and once live traffic counts tell us traffic volume is at its lowest.”
Mr Sweeting said the Highways Agency hoped everyone using the junction regularly would appreciate the benefits of the finishing works.
“These works will provide extra capacity for everyone using this junction and travelling through it. We are now close to resolving the long-running issues the old bridge caused to drivers. We are now in the home straight and we hope people will bear with us over the next few months.”
Over the Christmas holiday period – between Friday, December 24 and Tuesday, January 4 – traffic management will be kept to a minimum and the 70 mph speed limit maintained to help give motorway users smoother festive journeys.
The first of the limited overnight closures of the westbound Junction 7 exit will take place tonight (Friday, November 26) from 10pm, with the motorway re-opening by 5am tomorrow morning. A signed diversion will be in place.