HIGHWAY engineers say traffic around Chester is generally flowing freely despite the closure of the Old Dee bridge for essential gas works.
The bridge is affected for a total of three months so that National Grid can replace an ageing gas main which runs across the bridge.
Currently closed to traffic in both directions, from September 1 the bridge will re-open to one-way traffic heading out of the city but will remain closed to in-bound traffic until November.
County area highways manager Colin Stredder said; “Thanks to everybody taking heed of all the signs and diversion routes it seems to be going tolerably well.
“We are always monitoring the situation with cameras covering the main junctions and the Urban Traffic Control system, which controls all the timings of the signals, adjusts to take into account the changes.”
But traffic through Handbridge is lower than normal at the moment with West Cheshire College and local schools on holiday.
Mr Stredder added: “The big test will be when the schools go back at the beginning of September. It will inevitably be busier.”
He said one bottle-neck was during the evening rush-hour when people leaving Handbridge were met with longer queues than normal when approaching the Overleigh roundabout.
In advance of the bridge closure, static and variable message signs were put in place on affected routes to warn motorists of the work and diversions.
Leaflets advising residents and businesses of the scheme were delivered to some 10,000 properties in the affected areas.
One of the city’s best known landmarks, the 14th century bridge remains open to pedestrians and cyclists, who may have to dismount.
The work involves the renewal of one-third of a mile of metallic main from Mill Street, Handbridge, over the Old Dee Bridge along Lower Bridge Street to its junction with Pepper Street and Bridge Street.
National Grid has planned the scheme in partnership with Cheshire County and Chester City Councils, emergency services and public transport operators.
Cheshire County Council is carrying out kerb realignment work during the National Grid works to minimise any future disruption.