DRIVERS using the M56 are being urged to carefully plan journeys this weekend with the motorway closed yet again.

National Highways has issued a reminder to motorists that the motorway is now closed for a second weekend near Runcorn.

This is due to an 18-month, £27million project to replace the A533 expressway bridge nears completion.

With ‘good progress’ being made on the first weekend of demolition work, and the motorway re-opening on time at 6am on Monday, National Highways thanked drivers for their patience.

Project manager Sam Whitfield said: “We would like to thank motorway and local road users for their continued patience and support last weekend while the M56 and new bridge were closed.

“Demolishing the old A533 bridge, which is right next to the new one, was always going to be a delicate and complicated operation, and the safety of road users is our key concern.

“We have been telling people for some time this final phase of the project would need to be done over two weekends.

“While there is never a good time to close a motorway, these dates were carefully chosen to avoid disrupting people’s journeys during this month’s bank holidays.

Runcorn and Widnes World:

“With the motorway and new bridge closed again this weekend, we are urging drivers to plan ahead, check for congestion on the diversion routes before setting off and leave a little bit of extra time for journeys – or avoid this section of the motorway altogether if possible.”

The M56 will be closed in both directions between junctions 11 for Daresbury and 12 for Runcorn from 9pm this Friday, May 19, until 6am on Monday, May 22.

This will allow engineers to finish work to demolish the last of the old bridge structure.

The new bridge opened to traffic for the first time on April 17, future-proofing a vital connection for residents, commuters and businesses across the motorway.

The new bridge will also close again this weekend – from 7pm on Friday until 6am on Monday.

Access to and from the A56 local road will also be closed at its junction with the A533 near the new bridge.

Clearly-signed diversions for both the bridge and motorway closures will be in place, with drivers advised to check traffic conditions before setting out on journeys.