The complex removal of Liverpool’s Churchill Way flyovers will hit a key landmark next week – as engineers reach the halfway stage.
Contractors for the mammoth deconstruction scheme will be taking down the seventh and eighth span of the city’s flawed highway in the sky, from this Friday, 25 October.
And when spans nine and ten come down next week, 50% of the gargantuan task will then be completed. The remaining ten spans will be removed by mid-December.
The major central spans on both the north and south flyovers – which presented the biggest challenge, given they sat 50 feet above Byrom Street and the traffic using the nearby Birkenhead (Queensway) Tunnel – have now been removed.
This week’s phase is on the south flyover with the two spans – weighing more than 500 tonnes – running above the Dale Street exit from the Birkenhead Tunnel.
By Sunday (27 October) the 60-foot long concrete sections will both be down, to be cut up further at the site compound. These smaller pieces will then be taken to a holding facility in north Liverpool to be crushed.
Once this is completed, the Dale Street junction off the Birkenhead Tunnel will reopen at 7am on Wednesday, 30 October, as will the pedestrian crossing at Byrom Street.
Preparation for the next major phase of the Churchill Way flyover deconstruction will begin on Monday, 28 October, and covers the final two spans of the north west section of the north flyover. The ninth and tenth span are scheduled to be removed by the end of the week.
On the same day Byrom Street will close northbound from 7pm through to 5am the next morning (Tuesday, 29 October), with lane restrictions on the southbound carriageway. This will enable the central reserve column to be removed. This task has been planned to coincide with a pre-arranged, night-time maintenance closure of the Birkenhead Tunnel (which will re-open at 6.30am).
Pedestrians needing to get to the LJMU campus on Byrom Street can go via Hatton Garden to Great Crosshall Street or via William Brown Street, Islington and Hunter Street (when not fully closed).
Councillor Sharon Connor, Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet member for Highways, said: “The deconstruction of the Churchill Way Flyovers is a hugely complex process but the engineers are doing a tremendous job, with the removal fully on schedule to be completed by mid-December. “Although disruption has been unavoidable a huge amount of effort has been invested to minimise inconvenience to city centre traffic and surrounding buildings. We’re almost at the halfway stage now and we remain thankful to everyone for their patience and understanding whilst work continues.”
The removal of the 50-year-old Churchill Way flyovers is currently the most complex highways engineering scheme in the UK
The concrete highways closed in September 2018 after a report found them to be structurally flawed
The North and South flyovers are 800 feet in length running from Lime Street to Dale Street and Tithebarn Street
The deconstruction programme will take four months to complete. It started in late August
The innovative approach to bring them down has been devised collaboratively between Amey Consulting, GRAHAM and their specialist contractors
The phased dismantling minimises vibrations to protect antique art and cultural collections, as well as wildlife, housed at the Walker Art Gallery, Central Library and World Museum Liverpool.
Liverpool City Council approved this hyper-sensitive approach at a cost of £6.75m
The site compound at Fontenoy Street 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