Full details of road closures during Churchill Way flyovers demolition

Work is set to begin in September on the demolition of the two half-century old structures with the £6.75m project due to be completed in December. Tony McDonough reports

Churchill Way flyovers
Liverpool City Council is to demolish the Churchill Way flyovers


Work dismantling the Churchill Way flyovers in Liverpool will begin in September, the city council says.

Contractors 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 £6.75m highly complex job set to be completed in December.

The flyovers were closed at the end of September 2018 following the discovery of serious structural flaws. A more detailed examination revealed 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.

Opened in 1970, the 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.

Specialist contractors

The 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

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

Surrounding car parks will all close – Fontenoy Street and Dale Street (August 23), Primrose Hill (August 26) and Hunter Street (August 27), 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.

Churchill Way flyovers
Alternative pedestrian route during the demolition of the flyovers


First phase

The first phase of the dismantling process will begin on Monday, September 2, 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 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.

Rotten formwork caused by water penetration into the Churchill Way flyovers


Dismantling phase

The flyover dismantling phase will run from Friday evening until Sunday night on the weekends of September 6-9, September 20-23 and October 4-7. 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 7pm on Friday to 6am 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.

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, August 28 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.

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