One half of Liverpool’s flawed Churchill Way Flyovers will have vanished from the city’s skyline after this weekend.
The remaining four spans of the Northern flyover will be taken down as engineers embark on the final phases of the monumental, four month long task of dismantling the condemned 50 year-old structures. Contractors for the mammoth deconstruction scheme are to deploy ‘munching machines’ originally used on the removal of the footbridges, which serviced the city centre’s last remaining ‘highway in the sky’.
This technique will replace the ‘cut and lower’ method deployed to date. The change in methodology will mean that no further closures are required on neighbouring Byrom Street and Hunter Street from Monday, 25 November.
To offset any dust issues from the ‘munching’ method, water spray will be used to create a mist to prevent air born particles drifting away from the site.
By introducing the munching technique, Liverpool City Council has decided to transfer the rubble to Riverside Drive to be immediately recycled as sub-surface material for the expanded Coach Park it is currently building.
The coach park will treble the capacity of the existing facility to accommodate up to 30 coaches. It has been designed to facilitate the city’s booming coach tourism sector and help reduce congestion as part of the £45m Liverpool city centre connectivity programme.
The removal of the remaining North flyover spans, each weighing up to 600 tonnes – will begin at 7pm this Friday (22 November) and will require lane closures of Hunter Street westbound, heading to the A59 and Birkenhead Tunnel, and Byrom Street, southbound heading to the Birkenhead Tunnel. The lane closures are scheduled to end at 5am on Monday, 25 November. This will be the final closures for the gargantuan scheme as the remaining South flyover spans sit away from any public roads. These will be removed by early December.
Both Mersey tunnels will remain open over the weekend. However, for tunnel users travelling from Liverpool to Wirral, access to the Birkenhead tunnel will be via Victoria Street only. Tunnel users are advised to consider using the Wallasey tunnel where possible.
The lane closures will also means some changes to bus services, due to diversions, such as the Liverpool to Southport service. Details on the changes can be found at: www.merseytravel.gov.uk/travelupdates. There may also be disruption to other city centre bus services due to potential congestion. Motorists are advised to allow more time for journeys. Traffic updates will be provided on Merseytravel’s twitter feed.
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).
Flyover Deconstruction – The Process:
The removal of the 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 – have been segmented out into 20 spans, each of which 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 “cut and lift” technique along with traditional demolition methods and this was devised collaboratively between Amey Consulting, GRAHAM and their specialist contractors.
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 doubletree numbers as part of a new post-flyover masterplan for the area.
Motorists and more information:
→ Road closures currently in place for the scheme:
- Fontenoy Street will remain closed until mid-December.
- Cuerden Street will remain closed until mid-December.
Surrounding car parks at Fontenoy Street, Dale Street, Primrose Hill and Hunter Street have now all closed and will re-open as phases complete during the month of 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:
“After months of planning and sheer hard work, the finishing line on removing the Churchill Way Flyovers is now in sight.
“I’m sure everyone who travels into Liverpool city centre will welcome the progress that has been made and the fact the remaining spans will not require any more road closures will be a nice bonus for businesses in the run up to Christmas.
“I must applaud the engineers for their flexible approach to this hugely complex challenge. The need to swap techniques only came to light in the past few weeks. It has required a huge rethink in terms of logistics but they’ve done it efficiently and without interruption to the overall timetable.
“This reverting to the munching method has also given us the opportunity to immediately recycle the concrete for the new coach park – which is a fantastic win-win as it will also save the city council money in the long run.”
Stephen McFaul, Contracts Manager for GRAHAM, said:
“The removal of the flyovers has progressed well to date with all key milestones achieved, despite some technical challenges and methodology changes. We have another mammoth task this weekend for our specialist sub-contractors to remove all remaining spans of Northern flyover and one span on Southern flyover adjacent to Byron Street.
“Demobilisation of jacking towers and heavy lifting gear are currently underway to allow reinstatement works to commence in next few weeks.
“The deconstruction works to date have already transformed the visual impact of the Museum area and will support the continued transformation of the flyovers into a safe and secure area.”