Drivers should be aware of the latest road closures planned for the M53 this weekend (8/9 January), as the Highways England scheme to replace the bridge at junction 2 progresses.
The scheme involves removing and replacing the bridge that carries the southbound entry slip road onto the motorway at junction 2 near Moreton.
The old bridge was removed during summer 2020 and the new bridge, made from eight 24-metre-long steel beams weighing approximately 11 tonnes each, will be lifted into place by a crane during the nights of Friday 8 January and Saturday 9 January.
A temporary platform will also be installed around the beams so that drivers can continue to use the motorway as normal while contractors are working on the bridge over the next few months.
To install the steel beams and panels, the southbound carriageway will be closed overnight between junctions 2 and 3 while work takes place. Motorway closures will be in place from 8pm until 7am on Friday 8 and Saturday 9 January.
A diversion will take drivers along Upton bypass, the A551 Arrowe Park Road and the A552 Woodchurch Road.
Drivers heading northbound will also need to leave and then re-join the motorway at junction 2 to avoid travelling under the bridge.
Temporary narrow lanes and a 50mph speed limit will remain on the M53 past the bridge throughout the project for the safety of drivers and workers.
Further motorway closures will be in place from 8pm until 5am, Monday 11 – Saturday 16 January (morning) and Monday 18 – Saturday 23 January (morning) to lay 182 glass-reinforced plastic panels between the beams to form the base of the new bridge deck.
The project, scheduled for completion later this year, will see more than 200 tonnes of concrete poured onto the bridge’s new deck in the spring, with work then taking place to fit safety barriers, install streetlights and surface the road. The new bridge is due to open to drivers in summer 2021.
The original 50-year-old bridge was demolished last year due to its ageing condition, which would have required an HGV weight restriction to be introduced in the future. Highways England used six giant remote-controlled transporters to remove the 800-tonne bridge from the M53 in August 2020. A time lapse video showing the lift is available on Highways England YouTube channel.