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Tue May 11 2021

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Viaduct fixed twice as quickly during lockdown

31 Jul 20 The reduction in road traffic during the Covid-19 outbreak has meant that some road jobs have been getting done much more quickly.

Helsby viaduct on the M56
Helsby viaduct on the M56

Resurfacing the Helsby viaduct on the M56 near Ellesmere Port in Cheshire was expected to take eight months but has now been completed in just four.

For work on the Helsby viaduct, Highways England initially planned to undertake most of it by having a contraflow system in place. But when work started in March it instead was able to close one lane in each direction during the coronavirus lockdown after traffic levels fell by around two thirds.

The extra space doubled the size of the construction area and meant work to install new safety barriers, improve drainage, waterproof and resurface the bridge could be carried out much more quickly than previously planned. As a result the planned completion date of November was reached in July.

Principal contractor for the scheme was AE Yates, with CRL, Colas, VolkerLaser, WJ North and Crown Highways completing the team and sharing the credit.

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The scheme was part of £12m worth of improvements taking place on the M56. Work has also been completed to install a new central reservation barrier on the M56 near Warrington and resurface the motorway near Ellesmere Port.

Mangat Bansal, Highways England’s programme delivery manager in the northwest, said: "We’ve lifted the reduced speed limit over Helsby Viaduct after we completed major repairs in half the time. We’d originally planned to carry out the work using a contraflow system and temporary narrow lanes, which would have meant a reduced speed limit being in place until November.

"Instead, we kept two lanes open in each direction for drivers making essential journeys during the coronavirus lockdown and have been able to remove the roadworks four months ahead of schedule."

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