A giant crane is today (Sunday, January 15) lifting out the old Brook Lane bridge over the railway line in Newton as work progresses to replace the aging structure.
The railway line is closed all day in the Wirral and Liverpool direction as Network Rail contractors dismantle the existing bridge by detaching each horizontal girder from the framework one-by-one.
A rail replacement bus service is in operation.
At road level, jackhammers attached to diggers have been breaking through the metalwork while underneath men on cherry pickers have been using oxyacetylene cutting gear.
Once free, each girder will be lifted up by the giant crane and placed onto a specially prepared area by the railway line to be taken away for recycling.
The footpath and cycleway will have to be closed for a few minutes each time a lift takes place.
It is hoped the concrete cill, on which the new bridge will sit, can be installed later today ready for the new bridge to be lifted into place next weekend.
Workmen at the site reckon the existing bridge is probably as old as the railway itself giving an historical significance to today’s operation.
A handful of people are watching the activity from the adjacent foot bridge well as taking photographs.
Everyone who lives and works in Chester is affected by the bridge replacement which spans several months and has caused traffic disruption because of the necessary road closure of what is an important cross-city route.
The first phase closure took place between September 19 and early November, causing gridlock in Chester as the site was prepared.
And the second phase, which began on January 3, is scheduled to last until May 8.
Network Rail Project manager Martin Bell said: “This work is part of our Railway Upgrade Plan which will provide a better and more reliable railway for Britain. We recognise the work to install this new bridge will cause some disruption and thank people in advance for their patience.
“The bridge is coming to the end of its useful, safe life and to ensure the railway and road bridge continue to be safe and reliable, we have to replace it.”