More road clo­sures

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

AGIANT bridge-build­ing ma­chine con­struct­ing Halton’s new river cross­ing has fin­ished work in Widnes to mark­ing an­other im­por­tant mile­stone for the Mersey Gate­way Project.

Trin­ity is one of the in­fras­truc­ture project’s two mov­able scaf­fold­ing sys­tems (MSS) and had be­come a fa­mil­iar sight on the north bank of the River Mersey.

The bright or­ange ma­chine has now cast the fi­nal cen­tral span of the el­e­vated north ap­proach viaduct.

The ma­chine – es­sen­tially a gi­ant con­crete mould – has con­structed 11 road deck spans to cre­ate one seam­less struc­ture that sits on top of the sup­port­ing bridge piers which stretch across the salt­marsh in Widnes.

Ap­prox­i­mately 14,200m3 of con­crete has been used dur­ing con­struc­tion of the cen­tral road deck sec­tion, mea­sur­ing a to­tal length of around 715m.

The MSS was spe­cially made for the Mersey Gate­way. While most ma­chines of this kind can only build bridge spans of up to 60m, Trin­ity was specif­i­cally de­signed to be able to cast spans of up to 70m and made it the long­est MSS in Europe.

With its work now done Trin­ity will ROAD clo­sures will con­tinue across Halton through Jan­uary as work for the Mersey Gate­way Project pro­gresses.

The junc­tion 12 exit road of the M56 in Run­corn head­ing east­bound to­wards Manch­ester will have off peak lane clo­sures be­tween 9.30am and 3.30pm un­til Fri­day, Jan­uary 20.

The We­ston Point Ex­press­way south­bound be­tween the M56 junc­tion 12 round­about and Clifton round­about is also af­fected.

In Widnes, week­end clo­sures are planned for Vic­to­ria Road and Water­loo Road in both di­rec­tions be­tween Hutchin­son Street and Ash­ley Way.

The route will be shut from 7.30pm on Fri­day, Jan­uary 13, un­til 5am on Mon­day, Jan­uary 16.

The clo­sure will also be in place dur­ing the same times over the fol­low­ing week­end and a di­ver­sion will be in place. be dis­man­tled, re-used and re­cy­cled.

It will take con­struc­tion teams around two months to take the ma­chine apart as they con­tend with ap­prox­i­mately 1,200 com­po­nents, 3,000 ac­tual parts, and more than 60,000 bolts.

Merseylink’s project di­rec­tor Gareth Stu­art said: “This is an­other great achieve­ment for the project.

“We now have the cen­tral sec­tion of the road deck com­plete and ex­pect the en­tire north ap­proach viaduct to

The same stretch of Vic­to­ria Road and Water­loo Road will also ex­pe­ri­ence overnight clo­sures in both di­rec­tions from 7.30pm un­til 5am from Mon­day, Jan­uary 16, to Thurs­day, Jan­uary 19.

Overnight lane clo­sures be fin­ished within the next cou­ple of months.

“This key piece of road in­fras­truc­ture is one of two el­e­vated ap­proach viaducts that will con­nect the new bridge to the main road net­works in Widnes and Run­corn im­prov­ing links be­tween the two towns and the wider re­gion.”

The ap­proach viaduct decks are con­structed in three phases.

Once the cen­tral spans have been con­structed by the MSS, a deck slab is are also planned for the A533 Queensway in Widnes be­tween Dit­ton junc­tion and the Sil­ver Ju­bilee Bridge.

The clo­sures will be in place dur­ing 7.30pm to 5am from Mon­day, Jan­uary 16, to Fri­day, Jan­uary 20. built on top of the span, and fi­nally the outer deck or ‘wings’ are built by a wing trav­eller ma­chine to pro­vide the full six-lane width of the ap­proach road.

Merseylink’s gen­eral fore­man in charge of the MSS, De­clan Can­nar, said it should take around eight weeks to dis­man­tle Trin­ity be­fore it is sent to Europe. He said: “The main part of the ma­chine, the steel struc­ture, will be trans­ported to Slo­vakia, where it’s go­ing to be used to build a bridge in ● Bratislava, while the cast­ing cell will be re­cy­cled as this par­tic­u­lar sec­tion was a be­spoke piece specif­i­cally de­signed for the Mersey Gate­way Bridge.”

Trin­ity has proven to be a hit in Halton with many peo­ple fol­low­ing the ma­chine’s progress via the Mersey Gate­way we­b­cam.

Halton Bor­ough Coun­cil leader Rob Pol­hill said: “Watch­ing Trin­ity in ac­tion has been re­mark­able.

“To see the road deck of the north ap­proach viaduct progress over the past 12 months has been a priv­i­lege.

“Not many peo­ple across the world are able to watch such a mag­nif­i­cent piece of en­gi­neer­ing ma­chin­ery in ac­tion. The im­ages and footage of Trin­ity will cer­tainly be en­joyed for gen­er­a­tions to come.

“I look for­ward to now watch­ing our sec­ond MSS, Web­ster, make its way to­ward the south side of the bridge.”

Work is con­tin­u­ing on the north ap­proach viaduct as the wing trav­eller ma­chine con­structs the outer deck to form the out­side road lanes of the struc­ture.

The ma­chine has built more than three quar­ters of the outer deck so far with con­struc­tion of the viaduct an­tic­i­pated to fin­ish around the end of March.

The Mersey Gate­way Bridge is on sched­ule to open this au­tumn.

The bridge build­ing ma­chine Trin­ity

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