We are working closely with Cheshire West and Chester Council and Cadent, the UK’s biggest gas distributor, to minimise disruption to motorists during a vital £350,000 repair project on Northwich’s Winnington Swing Bridge
The bridge, which carries the A533 road between Northwich and Barnton over the River Weaver Navigation, will be closed to weekend traffic from 10pm on Friday 3 April until 4am on Monday 6 April.
The bridge will be swung open, and a rusting beam and damaged deck plate examined by our contractors. At the same time, contractors for Cadent will install two mains gas pipes across the road. Diversions will be in place for road users.
Early on Monday morning, in time for rush hour traffic, the road bridge will be swung back into position and open for business to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. Three way traffic signals will operate for about three weeks to allow Cadent to complete their gas works.
Underneath the bridge deck, essential bridge maintenance repair work will continue for about another four weeks. Traditional canal narrowboats and broad beam boats will still be able to travel along the river without the bridge swinging, depending on river levels. Motorists will be unaffected.
We will then need further weekend closures to install a new bridge beam in early May. Dates to be confirmed.
Richard Spencer, our project team manager, said: “Winnington Swing Bridge is an important heritage asset for the town. The listed structure is more than 100 years old and obviously needs a little TLC from time to time to keep it in good working order. A second major repair phase will happen in early autumn when part of the bridge will be re-painted and the footbridge replaced.
“Public safety and minimising disruption are always our top priority. We have proactively liaised with the council and Cadent on this project to enable all necessary maintenance and installation work to happen at the same time, keeping disruption to an absolute minimum.
“We welcome the council’s feasibility study into the Weaver corridor at Winnington and look forward to the development of a long-term plan for this important crossing point over the river.”
The Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Councillor Karen Shore said: “The Council has been awarded £780k from the Department for Transport’s Maintenance Challenge Fund for an overhaul of the bridge and these works will form part of an initial phase of repair and refurbishment.
“This additional funding is a much needed initial boost to our Highways service but the Council also recognises the need for complementary improvements along the Winnington corridor for all road users. Therefore, working alongside the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, we are currently undertaking a multi-modal feasibility study that will conclude in spring and the Council will then explore further funding opportunities to deliver its recommendations.”
Cadent is working on two big underground mains that distribute gas to thousands of Northwich homes, where it’s used for central heating, cooking and hot water. Some of this work is part of a 30-year, UK-wide programme to replace older assets, with the pipes now reaching the end of their safe working lives. New, tough plastic pipes are being installed, which will keep gas flowing well into the future.
The gas pipes will be worked on ‘live’ – which means gas continues to flow safely, with no interruption.
Craig Horrocks, who heads Cadent’s gas mains replacement in the North West, said: “Our gas mains run underground, mostly under roads, so whenever we need to work on them it’s very hard not to have an impact on traffic.
"It’s great that we’ve been able to work very closely with the Canal & River Trust and Cheshire West and Chester Council to schedule these different jobs to take place at the same time, using the same road closure.”
For more information about the River Weaver Navigation, check out the Canal & River Trust website www.canalrivertrust.org.uk.