The closure of Hunter Street from 7pm, on Friday, 13 September until 6am on Monday, September 16 will have a considerable impact on traffic arriving into Liverpool from the M62 and from the north of the city via Scotland Road (A59).
Both Mersey Tunnels will be open to traffic in either direction, but the closure will restrict access to the Birkenhead (Queensway) Tunnel for traffic coming from the M62/Islington direction.
Road diversions will be in place around the city centre but the public are once again being advised to use public transport instead, unless absolutely necessary.
Merseytravel are advising that these diversions, as well as congestion, engineering works on the Merseyrail network and minor changes to some bus routes could cause delays. People travelling into and out of the city centre are advised to leave extra time for their journeys.
Merseytravel have provided updated information which can be viewed online here.
Liverpool FC also have a home match at Anfield on Saturday, against Newcastle United (kick off – 12.30pm), and congestion is expected before and after the match. Fans travelling from the Wirral are advised to use the Wallasey (Kingsway) Tunnel.
Contractors for Liverpool City Council are currently on site dismantling the three footbridges that sit underneath the structurally flawed flyovers as part of phase one of the four month-long deconstruction programme.
Unlike the two flyovers, the footbridges are being taken down using a traditional demolition process which will create noise and dust. Water cannons will be used to dampen down the dust, but prevailing winds such as those we have experienced recently can make the dust travel in unexpected directions. For people living in properties nearby they are advised to keep their windows closed over the weekend.
The removal of the footbridges, which were used to access Liverpool John Moores University’s Byrom Street campus, will be completed on Wednesday, 18 September.
Pedestrians needing to get to the LJMU campus can go via Dale Street and Hatton Garden to Great Crosshall Street or via William Brown Street, Islington and Hunter Street (when not fully closed).
Once the footbridges are removed, the focus of the engineering task will swing to the removal of the 50-year-old flyovers – each of which are more than 240m in length.
This second phase, which begins on Tuesday, 17 September, will involve heavy machinery removing individual spans in a pre-determined sequence.
Each span – weighing up to 600 tonnes (more than a Boeing 747) – will be temporarily supported, before being cut free and moved on to a special transporter to a nearby compound, where it will be lowered to ground level, cut into smaller sections and removed off site to be crushed. A total of 20 spans and supporting piers will be removed.
The innovative methodology, devised collaboratively between Amey Consulting, GRAHAM and their specialist contractors, means the deconstruction can take place without having to implement a full programme road closure on two major arterial roads servicing Liverpool city centre and the Queensway Tunnel.
The compound at Fontenoy Street, which will see the sections cut into smaller pieces, has required tree removal, but the city council has plans to double tree numbers as part of a new post-flyover masterplan for the area.
The phased dismantling of the two flyovers – which connect Lime Street to Dale Street and Tithebarn Street – has also been devised to minimise vibrations to protect antique art and cultural collections, as well as wildlife housed at the Walker Art Gallery, Central Library and World Museum Liverpool – all of which sit next to the south flyover.
Liverpool City Council has approved this hyper-sensitive approach at a cost of £6.75m, after the two-lane highways were closed at the end of September 2018 following the discovery of construction flaws.
Once the deconstruction is completed in December, alterations will be made to the highway layout around the Hunter Street – Byrom Street – Queensway Tunnel entrance, to improve traffic and pedestrian movements.
As well as this weekend, there will be further weekend road closures at:
– Byrom Street (and therefore the Birkenhead Tunnel to Liverpool-bound traffic) on 20-23 September and 4-7 October.
– Fontenoy Street – remains closed until 15 November.
– The closure of Dale Street from Byrom Street to Crosshall Street will be required from 4-14 October.
Surrounding car parks at Fontenoy Street, Dale Street, Primrose Hill and Hunter Street have all closed and will re-open as phases complete from mid- November to late December. If car journeys are necessary, motorists are being redirected to nearby car parks at Victoria Street, Mount Pleasant, Queen Square and St Johns Shopping Centre.
Funding for the deconstruction comes from the Liverpool City Centre Connectivity (LCCC) Phase 1 Grant Fund Agreement, which is supported by a £38.4m grant from the Local Growth Fund with city council match funding of £8.7m. Local Growth Funding is awarded to the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and invested through the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority through its Strategic Investment Fund.
Councillor Sharon Connor, Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet member for Highways, said: “The removal of the Churchill Way footbridges has gone very smoothly to date and we’re thankful to motorists for their patience whilst these works take place.
“This weekend’s road closure of Hunter Street is going to cause disruption, especially given the impact to traffic coming from the M62 and the fact that Liverpool FC are at home.
“Unfortunately these scenarios are unavoidable on such a complex scheme but a lot of thought has gone into the methodology to ensure the inconvenience to city centre traffic and surrounding buildings is kept to a minimum.
“Public transport will always be the best option for these weekend closures and we urge people to plan ahead when thinking about journeys to the city centre at these times.”
Stephen McFaul, Contracts Manager for GRAHAM, said: “This is a critical project on behalf of Liverpool City Council and will support the continued transformation of the flyovers into a safe, secure area. We are currently working on a number of projects throughout the city and will once again apply our collaborative approach and technical expertise to maximise the success of this project.”
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