A temporary bridge that will carry 20,000 vehicles a day over the River Weaver in Frodsham is nearing completion.
It has been built to help the drivers that normally use Sutton Swing Bridge to get to their destinations whilst the swing bridge is being restored.
Engineers are currently installing the final pieces of the temporary two-way bridge across the River Weaver.
The temporary bridge, which is like a huge Meccano set, is 36 metres long, 16 metres wide and weighs around 150 tonnes.
Originally built for horse and cart the 90-year-old Sutton Swing Bridge is being carefully restored by the Canal & River Trust and Cheshire West and Chester Council.
The £4.5 million restoration will include the full replacement of the bridge deck to maintain the bridge’s current carrying capacity of 40 tonnes.
The pedestrian walkways will also be refurbished, as well as a full repaint to restore its appearance and to protect the bridge structure.
Once the temporary bridge is in place engineers will connect the bridge to the existing roads.
Traffic from Frodsham will not be able to make a right turn on Clifton Road and will follow a short diversion around Clifton roundabout before coming back along Clifton Road to join Chester Road.
Clive Mitchell, senior project manager at the Canal & River Trust, said: “Installing this bridge is a crucial part of the project; without it, traffic would have had to follow a long diversion which would have disrupted local roads.
“We hope traffic will start using the temporary bridge in early September. This will then allow us to start the main works to restore Sutton Swing Bridge back to its former glory.”
Cheshire West and Chester Cllr Lynn Riley, executive member for localities and a Frodsham councillor, said: “Long before we got to this stage, we spent time working with local people and our local business community to listen to their concerns about disruption to traffic.
“The temporary bridge does add significantly to the overall cost of the project but was a vital component in keeping our local communities on the move and open for business.”
Frodsham Cllr Andrew Dawson said: “It is great that the scheme is finally getting started.
“The communication for this project has been wonderful for local people, indeed a model of the way things should be done.”
Cllr Ralph Oultram for Kingsley ward, which includes Sutton Weaver, said: “I asked for a temporary bridge to be built, because I believed that this was the best way forward for such an important scheme.
“It is a critical traffic route and I am delighted that work on the temporary bridge is nearing completion.”
Navigation through the swing bridge is now restricted and a floating working platform has been installed beneath the bridge to allow access for the repair works.
A four metre width has been maintained beneath the bridge to allow narrowboats to have access past the works.
The work will be completed by autumn 2014 and will increase the life expectancy of the bridge by 50 years.
For further information and to see latest progress including time-lapse footage of the project visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/sutton.