WORK on the complex removal of the
Churchill Way flyovers in Liverpool will get underway in September.
Contractors for Liverpool City
Council have devised a dismantling process which will see the half-century old
structures come down in sections up to 25 metres in length, with the highly
complex job set to be completed in December.
The innovative methodology, devised
collaboratively between Amey Consulting, GRAHAM and their specialist
contractors, will enable the deconstruction to take place without having to
implement a three month road closure on two major arterial roads servicing
Liverpool city centre and the Birkenhead (Queensway) Tunnel.
The dismantling works will have a
significant impact on how traffic gets in to and out of the city centre and
moves around it. At key points in the programme, motorists will be advised to
only drive if absolutely necessary, and instead to walk, cycle or take the bus
or train. The work will also affect existing pedestrian routes, which will be
subject to diversions.
The phased dismantling of the two
flyovers – which connect Lime Street to Dale Street and Tithebarn Street – has
also been devised to minimise vibrations to protect antique art and cultural
collections, as well as wildlife housed at the Walker Art Gallery, Central
Library and World Museum Liverpool – all of which sit next to the south
Liverpool City Council has approved
this hyper-sensitive approach at a cost of £6.75m, after the two-lane highways
were closed at the end of September 2018 following the discovery of
To enable this highly complex
process, the site will require three work compounds which will be erected on Monday,
Surrounding car parks will all
close – Fontenoy Street and Dale Street (23 August), Primrose Hill (26 August)
and Hunter Street (27 August), and will re-open as phases complete
from mid-October to late December. Motorists will be directed to nearby car
parks at Victoria Street, Mount Pleasant and Queen Square.
The first phase of the dismantling
process will begin on Monday 2 September, with the taking down of the
three footbridges that sit underneath the two flyovers and are used to access
Liverpool JMU Byrom Street campus. This will cause noise and dust in the area.
This will take two to three weeks
for the contractors – GRAHAM – to complete, and will see a series of phased
weekend road closures of Byrom Street and then Hunter Street. Pedestrians
needing to get to the LJMU campus will go via Dale Street and Hatton Garden to
Great Crosshall Street. There will also be a pedestrian diversion route
available via Hunter Street, Islington, Commutation Row and William Brown
Once removed, the focus of the
engineering task will swing to the removal of the flyovers – each of which are
more than 240m in length. This phase will involve heavy machinery removing
individual spans in a pre-determined sequence.
Each span – weighing between 300 and
600 tonnes – will be temporarily supported, before being cut free and moved on
to a special transporter to a nearby compound, where it will be lowered to
ground level, cut into smaller sections and removed off site to be crushed. A
total of 20 spans and supporting piers will be removed over a four month
The compound at Fontenoy Street,
which will see the sections cut into smaller pieces, will require tree removal,
but the city council has plans to double tree numbers as part of a new
post-flyover masterplan for the area.
The flyover dismantling phase will
run from Friday evening until Sunday night on the weekends of 6-9 September,
20-23 September and 4-7 October. The closure of Hunter Street and Byrom Street
over these weekends will mean the Birkenhead (Queensway) Tunnel will be shut to
Liverpool-bound traffic only (except buses and emergency vehicles), with the
tunnel closed from 1900hrs on Friday to 0600hrs on Monday. Wirral-bound traffic
will be able to use the tunnel as normal. The Wallasey (Kingsway) Tunnel will
be open as usual.
The scheme will also see
Fontenoy Street completely closed from 2 September until 14
Closure of the section of Dale Street from Byrom Street to
Crosshall Street from 4-14 October.
Cuerden Street, which sits immediately behind the major cultural
buildings and provides access to the footbridge to the LJMU campus, will be
closed for one month from 11 November to 20 December.
Once the deconstruction is
complete, alterations will be made to the highway layout around the Hunter
Street – Byrom Street – Queensway Tunnel entrance, to improve traffic and
Engineers have also investigated
potential impact to other nearby roadwork schemes, specifically the new city
Bus Hub currently under construction on Old Haymarket, and concluded the
demolition will have no negative effect.
Two information events have been arranged for the public to discover more about the scheme, the methodology and the timings of road closures. They will be held on Friday 23 and Wednesday 28 August from 10am-7pm at Liverpool Central Library on William Brown Street.
The Churchill Way Flyovers consist
of two separate roads linking Lime Street to Dale Street (south flyover) and
Tithebarn Street (north flyover), running directly behind the city’s museums
and galleries in William Brown Street.
Opened in 1970 – as part of a city
centre inner ring road scheme that was later cancelled – they were closed in
the 1980s for repairs and further remedial works were carried out in 2005 and
2013 as part on a regular maintenance regime.
Following new legislation on major
highways structures, a Post Tensioned Special Inspection (PTSI) began in 2016
to assess the northern and southern sections. This found problems with
drainage, internal support, barriers and bearings which led to the flyovers
being shut last autumn for investigations into potential hidden defects and
An independent engineering report
was handed to the city council in February 2019, following more than 140
different types of structural testing, involving removal of the road surface,
drilling into the decks and underground assessments of every supporting column.
The tests had found multiple flaws including that the quality of the concrete
and steel was poor, with tendons and ducts corroded and signs of structural
distress including cracking over some supports. It concluded the structures
could not be strengthened.
This led to a detailed inspection
that concluded that multiple, significant defects could not be reversed and it
would cost the council £7.2m just to maintain the structure, with no traffic
allowed, for the remaining 20 years of its lifespan.
Funding for the deconstruction comes from the Liverpool City Centre Connectivity (LCCC) Phase 1 Grant Fund Agreement, which is supported by a £38.4m grant from the Local Growth Fund with city council match funding of £8.7m. Local Growth Funding is awarded to the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and invested through the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority through its Strategic Investment Fund.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson
said: “The Churchill Way flyovers are a relic of a cancelled highways
plan from half a century ago and given the overwhelming weight of evidence from
independent experts about their safety, their removal was the only viable
option. We simply have no choice but to take them down as soon as possible.
“This deconstruction is going to be
a complex process. It cannot be done overnight and a lot of thought has gone
into the methodology to ensure the inconvenience to city centre traffic and
surrounding buildings is kept to a minimum – but people need to understand that
this is going to cause a huge amount of unavoidable disruption.
“Detailed designs for junction
improvements are also a key element in making the area a better experience for
everyone, post demolition, and we will be working hard to keep all of our city
centre stakeholders and the public informed at every stage of the dismantling
and how the new traffic proposals will look.”
Steven McKinney, Principal
Engineering Manager, Amey Consulting, said: “Our design engineers have
worked closely with Liverpool City Council and demolition contractors, Graham
Construction, on an innovative engineering solution that aims to minimise
disruption and ensure the safety of the public.
“Provisions have also been
made to protect local landmarks such as museums and galleries. We believe this
represents the best solution for the city and for local communities.”