NOTE: This content is old - Published: Monday, Oct 12th, 2015.
Drivers using the M56 through Cheshire this morning have faced delays of over an hour in some cases on the first day of a five-week slip road closure at junction 12 Runcorn and Widnes.
A traffic light failure at the Daresbury turning on junction 11 added to the woes for many drivers heading towards Manchester and the M6.
Those driving from Deeside have been met by queues soon after joining from the A494, North West Motorway Police have been advising drivers to seek alternatives routes during this morning rush hour.
There has been stop-start traffic from early this morning along the M56 eastbound between from the A494 all the way to J11 Preston Brook, with congestion on A5117 to M53 J10 Little Stanney.
Recap on the work ahead:
The eastbound exit slip road at junction 12 for Runcorn and Widnes will be closed around the clock for up to 5 weeks from Monday (12 October) as the Mersey Gateway bridge project enters an important new phase
Much of the work away from the main bridge site has focused on improving the local road network just off the M56 at junction 12 and as that continues the closure of the eastbound exit slip from the motorway will be needed from Monday 12 October for around five weeks.
The slip road has to be closed in order to allow construction workers to safely develop part of the new infrastructure that will connect the traffic travelling between Halton and the M56 motorway.
The Merseylink consortium and Halton Borough Council have worked closely with Highways England, which is responsible for maintaining and operating England’s motorways, to plan the works, keep potential disruption to a minimum and set up an official diversion route.
The diversion route will take eastbound traffic on to junction 11, before directing drivers back to junction 12, on to the westbound exit slip from the motorway and then in towards Runcorn and Widnes or south towards Frodsham.
Drivers will still be able to get on to the M56 at junction 12 in both directions.
Hugh O’Connor, General Manager of Merseylink, said:
“This is a temporary but essential closure to allow us to safely link the M56 eastbound slip road at junction 12 to the improved road network we are developing in the area. We’ve been working closely with Highways England and Halton Borough Council to plan this closure and closing the road completely will allow us to deliver this element of the work as quickly as possible.”
When it opens in 2017, both the new bridge and the Silver Jubilee Bridge will be tolled, but they will be free* to Halton residents.