Halton Council apologises for Runcorn Widnes bridge traffic delays

Runcorn and Widnes World: Halton Council apologises for causing gridlock on the Runcorn Widnes bridge Halton Council apologises for causing gridlock on the Runcorn Widnes bridge

HALTON Council today apologised for huge traffic delays which have gridlocked the bridge and both towns, leaving incensed drivers fuming in long queues.

The congestion was caused because Weston Expressway is being re-surfaced.

The problem has been exacerbated because emergency repairs had to be carried out on a bridge in Speke Road, causing further delays on the approach to the Silver Jubilee bridge.

A Halton Council spokesman said: “We apologise for the inconvenience caused while this essential work is carried out.

“The work on the Weston Point Expressway is carriageway resurfacing around Picow Farm Road junction. Due to the depth of carriageway being resurfaced, it is not safe to run live traffic next to where the work is taking place.

“The lane is closed on the bridge to prevent traffic ending up in a dead end on Weston Point Expressway where the work is taking place and to prevent vehicles getting stuck under the low bridge by Runcorn Station.

“We usually carry out these works in the summer holidays, but this will not be possible this year due to the start of the construction works for the Mersey Gateway, therefore we planned it for the half-term holiday when traffic flows are generally lower.

“We would not normally carry out two sets of roadworks on main roads at the same time, but unfortunately an expansion joint on the bridge over St Michael’s Road on the Speke Road started to break up and needed to be replaced urgently. Once this repair started it was a continuous process, hence the closure. Fortunately, when it was excavated, there was not as much work required as envisaged so it was completed in two days.

“It may appear to people that no-one is working, but this is due to the isolated locations of the works in relation to the diversion routes. People travelling the routes in the opposite direction will see work being carried out.

“On Speke Road, the work was carried out continuously over a 24 hour period, which meant it was completed during a dry period, as it was weather dependent.

“On Weston Point Expressway, they are working longer shifts, but due to nearby residential properties, overnight working is not permitted.”

Comments (4)

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3:37pm Thu 29 May 14

Graham Tarry says...

The congestion was worse on Wednesday after Speke Boulevard was reopened as traffic from Liverpool was not allowing enough Widnes traffic up into the single lane over the bridge. The police should have been contacted by the council to patrol junctions, so that traffic could be allowed to merge in turn onto the bridge. As it was, my wife's journey home from Halebank (usually 15 mins) was 1 hour on Tuesday, 2 h 10 m on Wed. Dread to think what will happen tonight during 'rush' hour...
The congestion was worse on Wednesday after Speke Boulevard was reopened as traffic from Liverpool was not allowing enough Widnes traffic up into the single lane over the bridge. The police should have been contacted by the council to patrol junctions, so that traffic could be allowed to merge in turn onto the bridge. As it was, my wife's journey home from Halebank (usually 15 mins) was 1 hour on Tuesday, 2 h 10 m on Wed. Dread to think what will happen tonight during 'rush' hour... Graham Tarry
  • Score: 4

12:28am Fri 30 May 14

Sutton Weaver says...

Who in their right mind would have allowed the fiasco that has happened with the traffic flow over the Runcorn bridge over the past few days. Halton Borough Council have now decided to apologise. They are defending themselves by saying it was not normal practice to carry out two repairs at the same time and the problem had been an expansion joint on the bridge over St Michael’s Road on Speke Road that started to break up and needed to be replaced urgently. When did they know about this urgent repair? If that be the case then why didn't they defer re-surfacing?
Who in their right mind would have allowed the fiasco that has happened with the traffic flow over the Runcorn bridge over the past few days. Halton Borough Council have now decided to apologise. They are defending themselves by saying it was not normal practice to carry out two repairs at the same time and the problem had been an expansion joint on the bridge over St Michael’s Road on Speke Road that started to break up and needed to be replaced urgently. When did they know about this urgent repair? If that be the case then why didn't they defer re-surfacing? Sutton Weaver
  • Score: -2

11:00am Fri 30 May 14

Runcorn business owner says...

@Sutton Weaver
Do you not understand the concept of an emergency? It's only a guess, but I would have thought the time between the issue with the bridge over St Michael’s Road on Speke Road being discovered and repairs starting was less than 24 hours.

If you'd read the story, Halton BC made it quite clear that they would normally carry out the works during the summer holidays – i.e. when the kids are off and traffic is lighter. That isn't possible because there will be works being carried out in the summer (i.e. get ready for more problems similar to this one) – so they moved it forward to the next best time – spring half term.

In other words, they couldn't delay the resurfacing. Period.

No time is ideal. However, the traffic jams highlight how much the new bridge is needed.

@Graham – You make a good point. There should have been temporary traffic lights set up around the junctions to stop traffic already on the A533 from blocking Widnes traffic entering the road.

Hopefully HBC will learn from this experience and implement them next time.
@Sutton Weaver Do you not understand the concept of an emergency? It's only a guess, but I would have thought the time between the issue with the bridge over St Michael’s Road on Speke Road being discovered and repairs starting was less than 24 hours. If you'd read the story, Halton BC made it quite clear that they would normally carry out the works during the summer holidays – i.e. when the kids are off and traffic is lighter. That isn't possible because there will be works being carried out in the summer (i.e. get ready for more problems similar to this one) – so they moved it forward to the next best time – spring half term. In other words, they couldn't delay the resurfacing. Period. No time is ideal. However, the traffic jams highlight how much the new bridge is needed. @Graham – You make a good point. There should have been temporary traffic lights set up around the junctions to stop traffic already on the A533 from blocking Widnes traffic entering the road. Hopefully HBC will learn from this experience and implement them next time. Runcorn business owner
  • Score: 6

11:54am Fri 30 May 14

dong ding says...

£2 per car for the privilege of being stuck in traffic soon
£2 per car for the privilege of being stuck in traffic soon dong ding
  • Score: 1

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