Vital repairs to a busy 84-year-old road bridge, which carries the A49 trunk road over the River Weaver Navigation in Cheshire, are helping to safeguard the bridge for thousands of motorists.
The £1.5 million programme to refurbish Acton Swing Bridge, near Northwich, began on January 23 and is on target to be completed by July.
The work has been arranged by the Canal and River Trust, which cares for the River Weaver and 2,000 miles of the nation’s waterways, and is being funded by Cheshire West and Chester Council.
The work involves a complete refurbishment of the bridge deck, including strengthening to its underside, as well as improvements to the bridge appearance.
During the work, vehicles using the bridge have been restricted to one lane, controlled by traffic lights. These are manually operated during busy times in an effort to keep motorist waiting times to a minimum.
The towpath underneath the bridge and the pedestrian walkway over the bridge continue to remain open as far as is reasonably practicable.
A height restriction of 2.5m for boats is in place underneath the bridge until the end of March so the bridge will not be able to swing for boat traffic until the beginning of April.
Project manager at the Canal and River Trust, Richard Spencer, said: “Works are progressing well on the underside of the bridge.
“We are aiming to remove the scaffolding by the end of March, enabling the trust to complete scheduled swings for larger boats to pass.
“Having removed the road surface, we were able to inspect the exposed upper deck and discovered several corroded steel sections needing replacement on the northbound carriageway. The new sections are in production and we are still on track to get the road re-opened by July.”
The council’s director of place operations Maria Byrne added: “This vital project has shown excellent partnership working between the Canal and River Trust and the council.
“The council has provided the full funding for these repairs and we are committed to ongoing investment in our highway network.”