ESSENTIAL roadworks to build a multi-utility trench to improve access to the new Mersey Gateway will cause a weekend roundabout closure in Runcorn at the M56 junction 12.

There will be no access between Runcorn and junction 12 of the M56 from 10pm on Saturday, July 26 and 5am on Monday, July 28, due to a closure of the north roundabout.

Drivers traveling on the M56 towards Runcorn will be diverted to junction 11 at Daresbury and directed along Chester Road and the Southern Expressway.

Diversion signs will also be in place for drivers seeking to travel from Runcorn to the M56.

Both the eastbound entry and exit slip roads at junction 12 on the M56 will be closed completely during this time, with all traffic diverted via junction 11.

The work is being done at this time to keep disruption to a minimum.

Hugh O’Connor, general manager at Merseylink, said: “This closure is essential and will allow us to co-ordinate utilities work while we improve the traffic flow around this busy junction.

“We’re working overnight at the weekend because we and the council recognise this is a busy access route for local people and businesses and we want to keep disruption to a minimum.

“We’re aware that it will cause some inconvenience for drivers and that local residents will hear some noise during the works, so we’re setting up advance notice diversion signs and sending letters to affected local properties to inform them about the work.

"We would ask all drivers to please follow the directions to ensure safety is not compromised on site.”

At junction 12, the only access available to the M56 will be for the westbound traffic from the southern Clifton roundabout.

The westbound exit slip road will also be open but there will be no access to Runcorn from this junction, so traffic will be diverted via junction 11.

Emergency and local access to Cholmondeley Road and Clifton Village will be maintained throughout the closure. Access to Cholmondeley Road will be via Weston link where signage will be in place directing drivers through the site access point.

Drivers will be met by a member of Merseylink’s traffic management team and escorted safely through the works site.

The north roundabout at junction 12 will be closed during this time for the construction of a multi utility service trench from one side to the other. This means that a number of different utilities can be diverted through the trench in the future without affecting traffic.

This will minimise the number of future closures which the utility companies would otherwise need to do to divert their apparatus one at a time.

The trench will allow the team behind the Mersey Gateway project to improve the roundabout layout to enhance access to and from the M56 at Junction 12, as part of the access route for the new Mersey Gateway bridge.

The section of the Weston Point Expressway, also known as the Rocksavage Expressway, which links the north roundabout at junction 12 to the motorway, will also be completely closed at the same time.

All works will take place throughout the closure period, and will involve some noise. Letters are being distributed this week to residents on the closest parts of the Beechwood estate, which overlooks the roundabout.

The Merseylink team, which is delivering the new bridge, is also making direct contact with residents and businesses based on Cholmondeley Road and the Ashville Industrial Estate to inform them of the closure and to put in place alternative access arrangements.

The new six-lane tolled crossing is due to open in 2017.