Chester residents and commuters will soon breathe a sigh of relief when a road bridge over the railway reopens following months of travel disruption.
The aging Brook Lane bridge in Newton had to be replaced with a new structure that will open on time on Monday, May 8, just before the busy May races meeting begins on the Wednesday.
Brook Lane is a key cross-city route so its closure has made getting around Chester more difficult with displaced traffic causing problems during peak times at the Mill Lane bottleneck near Morrisons where the road becomes one-way only.
The new bridge is future-proofed so that it can take overhead electric cables to power the trains that run below if the electrified third rail is ever replaced.
Network Rail has carried out the work in two phases, between September and early November, as the site was prepared, with the road reopened for Christmas. And the first phase was completed three weeks ahead of schedule.
The second phase, which began on January 3, was to remove the aging structure and lift the new bridge into place using giant cranes. Resurfacing and white lining will take place before the bridge reopens.
Originally the bridge was due to reopen in June but the timetable was moved forward to accommodate the Boodles May Festival (May 10-12) when traffic in the city is heavier than normal.
A spokesman for Network Rail said: “Work to replace the bridge on Brook Lane is going well and it will be completed and reopen on Monday, May 8.
"The bridge will last for more than 100 years and need minimal maintenance, meaning less disruption to the local community and the railway. Local people are thanked for their patience while we carry out this vital work as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan.”