Flawed flyover removal nears halfway stage

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).

The removal of the 50-year-old Churchill Way flyovers is currently the most complex highways engineering scheme in the UK. The North and South flyovers – each of which are 800 feet in length – are being removed in a pre-determined sequence to mitigate impact in a very busy part of Liverpool city centre.

The four month-long deconstruction programme has necessitated an innovative approach and this has been devised collaboratively between Amey Consulting, GRAHAM and their specialist contractors.

The phased dismantling of the two flyovers – which connect Lime Street to Dale Street and Tithebarn Street – have 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 flyover.

Liverpool City Council 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 construction flaws. Once the deconstruction is completed in December, alterations will be made to the highway layout around the Hunter Street – Byrom Street – Queensway Tunnel entrance, to improve traffic and pedestrian movements.

The site compound at Fontenoy Street, at which the sections are cut into smaller pieces, 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.

Road closures currently in place for the scheme:

  • Fontenoy Street will remain closed until 29 November.

Surrounding car parks at Fontenoy Street, Dale Street, Primrose Hill and Hunter Street have now all closed and will re-open as phases complete from mid- November to late December.

If car journeys are necessary, motorists are being redirected to nearby car parks at Victoria Street, Mount Pleasant, Queen Square and St Johns Shopping Centre.

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.

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.”

Stephen McFaul, Contracts Manager for GRAHAM, said:

“This is a critical project on behalf of Liverpool City Council and will support the continued transformation of the flyovers into a safe, secure area. We are currently working on a number of projects throughout the city and will once again apply our collaborative approach and technical expertise to maximise the success of this project.”

Find out more about the removal here

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