The enormously difficult job of removing Liverpool's iconic Churchill Way flyovers will begin next month - and will lead to three months of city centre disruption including the partial closure of one of the Mersey tunnels.

The 50-year-old flyovers will be dismantled by city council contractors in sections of 25 metres in length - with the complex job set to cause disruption around the city centre until December.

The hyper-sensitive job - devised to minimise disruption where possible and to not disturb antique art, cultural collections and wildlife houses in nearby galleries and museums - is set to cost nearly £7m.

The flyovers were closed to the public last year after investigations found they were unsafe.

 

The council says organisations Amey Consulting, GRAHAM and their specialist constructors have devised an innovative methodology which 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 Churchill Way Flyovers are coming down

But it will inevitably lead to serious disruption in and around the city centre, with the council now revealing the extensive list of closures and diversions that will be in place for the next three months.

What will close and when

To enable this highly complex process, the site will require three work compounds which will be erected on Monday, 26 August.

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.

The Churchill Way Flyovers have been closed in both directions since last year

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 Street.

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 period.

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.

Weekend road closures

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 October.

·         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 pedestrian movements.

Congestion on Churchill Way Fly-over, as emergency safety checks begin in Liverpool.

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 public can access information online at  www.liverpool.gov.uk/churchillwayflyovers  or gain regular updates on Twitter @lpoolcouncil or at the city council’s Facebook page.

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.

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“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.”