A year of

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - Front Page - BY JOHN MCDOUGALL john.mcdougall@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @JMacD1988

SIG­NIF­I­CANT trans­for­ma­tions to the road net­work across Run­corn and Widnes took place this year for the Mersey Gate­way Project.

Con­struc­tion con­sor­tium Merseylink is build­ing the new cross­ing for Hal­ton over the River Mersey.

The new six lane toll bridge is on sched­ule to open in au­tumn 2017.

Cable stay bridge py­lons are com­plete and the deck over the river with its sup­port­ing cables are now grow­ing in length daily.

Aerial pho­to­graphs taken in De­cem­ber 2015 and again this month of sev­eral lo­ca­tions have il­lus­trated the bor­ough’s chang­ing land­scape as the project has pro­gressed.

In Widnes, Dit­ton Fly­over is now gone and a new junc­tion is be­ing de­vel­oped which will al­low traf­fic to head into the town and con­nect to both the new Mersey Gate­way Bridge and the Sil­ver Ju­bilee Bridge.

Im­ages have been taken look­ing south east along the line of the main route from Liver­pool to the new bridge.

A sec­tion of road bridge cross­ing Dit­ton Junc­tion that will carry traf­fic to and from the new bridge to­wards Liver­pool can be seen.

A mov­able scaf­fold sys­tem (MSS) called Trin­ity has fin­ished work on a north ap­proach viaduct across the salt­marsh in Widnes.

The wing trav­eller which builds the outer parts of the road deck is fol­low­ing on quickly be­hind as planned.

The picture from De­cem­ber 2015 shows Trin­ity be­ing as­sem­bled and get­ting ready to start her jour­ney at the north side of the St He­lens Canal.

For the bridge’s main sec­tion, py­lons which were just start­ing to emerge from their foun­da­tions in 2015 are now at full height.

Work has now started on build­ing the bridge deck out­wards from each py­lon and in­stalling the stay cables.

The tem­po­rary tres­tle bridge and ac­cess roads across the salt­marsh which run along­side the main route and the cof­fer­dams be­neath it will be re­moved shortly af­ter the new bridge opens.

A 125m high south py­lon has risen up from the Mersey es­tu­ary, but in 2015 had hardly be­gun to ap­pear above the sur­face of the bridge deck.

New stay cables are be­ing added ev­ery week as con­struc­tion work con­tin­ues to gather pace.

The north and cen­tral py­lons are also now at full height with work on in­stalling stay cables also con­tin­u­ing at a pace at the north py­lon.

A new look Bridge­wa­ter Junc­tion is now par­tially open in Run­corn.

It will con­nect the Bridge­wa­ter and Dares­bury Ex­press­ways to the Cen­tral Ex­press­way and the new route.

The new bridge will cross the Ast­moor In­dus­trial Es­tate with the MSS Web­ster vis­i­ble in the picture taken this month.

The Lodge Lane Junc­tion in Run­corn is still un­der­go­ing changes.

The old cir­cu­lar link tak­ing traf­fic from We­ston Link to the South­ern Ex­press­way has been de­mol­ished with tight bends to be re­moved and a free-flow­ing ap­proach to the new bridge cre­ated in its place.

Con­struc­tion of the new Lodge Lane Bridge is pro­gress­ing with beams all in place and is ex­pected to re-open in the spring.

De­mo­li­tion of the Rock­sav­age West Bridge at the We­ston Point Junc­tion will start on Mon­day, Jan­uary 9.

A new ‘ham­burger’ junc­tion is in place at junc­tion 12 of the M56.

It will pro­vide a through route

Above, Junc­tion 12 of the M56 in 2016, and, left, a year ago

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