A major six week project to replace the road joints of a viaduct which carries Chester’s St Martin’s Way begins on  February 17.

During the council-funded scheme, a  contraflow system will be in operation to allow each side of the Nicholas Street viaduct to be closed off in turn, so that the new Reinforced Elastomeric Joints can be installed.

This means that one half of the viaduct will be closed whilst the other half carries traffic in single file from each direction.

The old joints were installed in the 1970s, are well beyond their design life and in a poor condition.

Their purpose is to allow the bridge to  expand and contract due to changes in  temperature, withstand high volumes of  traffic, and prevent water from leaking  below. Water can now be found on the  bridge bearings and in the inspection  chambers.

Councillor Lynn Riley, executive member for localities, said: “Electronic message boards have been put in place to  warn drivers that the scheme is taking  place and there will be traffic hold ups.

“We apologise for this but it is imperative that work is carried out now  because over the past ten years, repairs  on the joints have taken place at an  increasing frequency.

“Given the huge volume of traffic using  the Nicholas Street viaduct, we have  decided to carry out repairs now so that  they will be completed before the start of  the spring events programme and races  season.”

The viaduct carries St Martin’s Way over roads, the canal and the West Coast  Main Line Railway.

City Walls Road will also close on February 17 at its junction with St Martin’s Way, with access to properties and emergency vehicles being maintained from Watergate Street.