1:54pm Friday 30th May 2014
By Gina Bebbington
YEARS of planning will be put to the test at the weekend when Northwich’s one-way system faces a bridge closure.
Town Bridge, a Grade Two listed structure, will be closed for maintenance from 6pm on Saturday, June 7, to 4pm on Sunday, June 8.
During this time the gyratory system will be suspended to allow traffic to travel in both directions.
The Canal and River Trust will work overnight on Saturday to replace the oak threshold beams on the historic bridge then Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) will resurface the road on Sunday.
Dave Clarkson, senior principal engineer with the Canal and River Trust, said: “I’m hoping it will all go smoothly – unlike the current road surface.
“The big challenge here, that both the Canal and River Trust and the council have been working closely in partnership on, is to work in the traffic management system that enables us to reverse the one-way system and ensure it’s easy to implement.
“There was a long consultation between ourselves and the council when they first brought in the one-way system because it included two bridges.
“You can’t take one bridge out and carry on working through with the one-way, so it makes it more interesting.
“We had a look at it from the point of view of something unforeseen occurring that caused one of the bridges to be locked off and us having to implement something quite quickly.
“We’ve done some fine tuning as we’ve approached these works.
“The proof will be in the pudding but I think the system we’re going to implement will give us two-way running and avoid any significant diversion route.”
The bridge, built in 1899, is a Grade Two listed structure so engineers also have to work closely with English Heritage and use original materials in any replacement work.
The hard wearing timber threshold beams last an average of 14 years, although with changes to the traffic flow caused by the gyratory this will be closely monitored in future.
Clr Lynn Riley, CWAC’s executive member for localities, said: “We have worked closely with the trust to schedule this closure at a time when it will cause least disruption and we hope that implementing a temporary two-way system will help to keep traffic flowing.”
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