The complex removal of Liverpool’s Churchill Way flyovers is to move up a gear with the first major road closure coming into force this weekend (September 6-9).
Contractors are now 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.
The footbridges, which were used to access Liverpool JMU’s Byrom Street campus, will finally close to pedestrians tomorrow morning (Friday, 6 September) and to ensure their safe removal Byrom Street will fully close later that day at 7pm before re-opening at 6am on Monday, September 9.
The road closure means the Birkenhead (Queensway) Tunnel will be shut to Liverpool-bound traffic only (except buses and emergency vehicles). Wirral-bound traffic will be able to use the tunnel as normal.
The Wallasey (Kingsway) Tunnel will be open as normal but is expected to be busy, and congestion, as a result of the works, is expected to affect both the approach and exit to the city centre, including the Tunnels
Those wishing to travel into and through Liverpool city centre this weekend are encouraged to use public transport and Merseytravel have provided updated information which can be viewed online at: www.merseytravel.gov.uk/churchillwayflyovers
The footbridge removal phase will take three weeks for Liverpool City Council’s contractors – GRAHAM – to complete.
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).
Flyover Deconstruction – The Process:
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 phase 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.
Motorists and more information:
As well as this weekend, there will be further weekend road closures of Byrom Street (and therefore the Birkenhead Tunnel to Liverpool-bound traffic) on 20-23 September and 4-7 October.
Hunter Street will also fully close for weekend of 13-16 September. Fontenoy Street will remain closed until 15 November. A partial 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 now 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.
• For more flyover information including all road closures and diversions go to: www.liverpool.gov.uk/churchillwayflyovers
• Regular updates can be found on Twitter @lpoolcouncil or at the city council’s Facebook page.
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.
What They Say:
Councillor Sharon Connor, Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet member for Highways, said: “The deconstruction of the Churchill Way Flyovers is a complex process, not least because they and the footbridges sit above two very bus roads that lead to the city centre and the Queensway Tunnel.
“Disruption is unfortunately unavoidable 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 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.”
Gary Evans, Head of Customer Delivery at Merseytravel, said: “Whilst the work to deconstruct the Churchill Way Flyovers is ongoing, we’re working closely with Liverpool City Council and other partners to keep people moving. We advise people coming into the city centre to drive only if absolutely necessary and consider other options including bus, train, walking or cycling.
“It’s also important to plan ahead and leave plenty of time for your journey to allow for road diversions and rail engineering works in place this weekend. For more information about travel options, please check the Merseytravel.gov.uk or bus and rail operator websites and travel planners.”