Temporary closures of the footpath crossing the Silver Jubilee Bridge are due to finish soon. When that happens, pedestrians and cyclists will be able to cross the bridge at any time of the day. Updates will be posted as they are available.
The part-time weekday closures were put in place to ensure the safety of the public, as essential repairs and repainting of the bridge took place overhead. With this phase of the work almost complete, the footpath can soon reopen.
The painting of the bridge has on its own been a mammoth effort! Before any painting or repairs could start, it was necessary to erect scaffolding to enable the team to begin the painstaking task of removing the various layers of paint to expose the bare steel. The public will be familiar with the white wrapping that has gradually made its way across the arch of the bridge – underneath, work has been taking place one small section at a time – it has had to be done this way due to the unique, challenging (and often very windy) conditions created by the River Mersey – meaning careful planning had to take place to ensure not to add too much weight to the arch, as it could potentially have risked the integrity of the entire bridge structure.
At its peak around 80 people were involved, with painting work covering an area of 20,318m2 – of course the paint used wasn’t the usual type you’ll find in your local DIY store, instead the specialist paint used is designed to withstand the harsh conditions and expected to last for around 20 years.
Renewal of the paint system on the arch hasn’t been carried out on this scale before and as a result the iconic Silver Jubilee Bridge looks glorious.
In addition to the steel arch painting, a project to replace one of the Silver Jubilee Bridge’s main deck suspension cables has been successfully completed. This has never been attempted on any bridges of a similar design anywhere in the world. This extremely complex piece of work is the result of two years’ worth of intricate planning.
Before its closure, over 70,000 cars were crossing the Silver Jubilee Bridge every day – without an alternative route, a full closure of the bridge to carry out the maintenance needed would have meant severe disruption, so it was just not an option. The opening of the Mersey Gateway changed this, providing a unique opportunity to close the bridge for the length of time have needed to give the Silver Jubilee Bridge this much deserved care and attention.
With the painting and cable replacement now complete, work will move on to its next phase, which will include the reconfiguration of the bridge deck, reducing the number of lanes from four to one in each direction, with a dedicated cycle lane.
It is expected that the bridge will reopen to vehicles in Summer/Autumn 2020, coinciding with completion of the work to delink the Silver Jubilee Bridge and create a new roundabout on the Bridgewater Expressway in Runcorn.
Until the footpath is reopened pedestrians and cyclists can continue to use the shuttle bus services that operate from 7.30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.