Drivers heading to Manchester Airport this weekend are being urged to leave extra time to catch flights as the M56 will be closed in both directions between junctions 5 and 6 for work to install a £5.5 million new bridge.
The Highways Agency will be installing the bridge, linking Thorley Lane over the M56 near Manchester Airport, between 10pm on Friday 27 February and 5am on Monday 2 March.
The westbound carriageway of the motorway will be closed throughout the weekend from junction 5 – allowing people heading away from Manchester to access the airport as normal.
The eastbound carriageway of the motorway will also be closed throughout the weekend from junction 6 at Hale, with people heading for the airport needing to take a short diversion along Hangar Lane to get to the airport complex.
Drivers with no need to be at the airport are being warned they will be unable to travel westbound beyond junction 5 or eastbound beyond junction 6 – and risk being trapped in airport traffic if they try.
A good and clearly-signed diversion steering traffic away from the M56 and the airport will be in place between junction 9 of the M56 at Lymm and the M60 in Manchester – using the M6, M62 and M60 instead.
Highways Agency project manager Mark Mosley said:
“The simple message is that the M56 is closed this weekend at Manchester Airport and unless you need to catch or meet a flight then please, please stay clear for everyone’s sake.
“Local roads around the airport will be very busy so we appeal to anyone who does not need to travel to the airport or communities in the area to avoid the M56.”
Access for people heading to Manchester Airport will be maintained at all times throughout the weekend – but other drivers are urged to avoid the area and use the official diversion routes instead.
Fans of Manchester United (home to Sunderland at 3pm on Saturday) and Manchester City (away at Liverpool at noon on Sunday) are also being warned not to try to use the M56 for journeys into and out of Manchester and to use the M60, M62 and M6 diversion routes instead.
The Highways Agency has been working closely with the police, Transport for Greater Manchester and Manchester Airport to plan this weekend’s closure.
Manchester Airports Group (MAG) Director of Passenger Services, Wayne Poole said:
“Whilst every effort is being made to minimise the disruption to airport users, the M56 closure will affect people travelling to and from Manchester Airport so we ask that people plan ahead for this closure and leave extra time to complete their journeys.
“We would also ask that anyone who is not travelling to Manchester Airport during the closure to please follow the relevant diversion signs to help you reach your intended destination as quickly as possible.”
More information about the weekend closure, including more detailed diversion advice, is available from the project webpage.
The old bridge, west of junction 5 of the motorway, closed last May ahead of its demolition in August. The new one is being installed in a £5.5 million government ‘pinch-point’ initiative aimed at stimulating the creation of 3,000 new jobs at Davenport Green and Airport City by 2030 plus 5,650 homes around Altrincham, Bowdon and Hale by 2026.
The project is one of 123 in the Government’s £317 million ‘pinch-point’ initiative – a two-year programme of targeted work being delivered alongside larger schemes and routine maintenance and improvements along the strategic road network.
The pinch-point programme, devised with the input of councils and local enterprise partnerships, is designed to help stimulate new development and local economic growth by improving road safety and tackling congestion bottlenecks. In all, 28 projects, worth £66 million, are being delivered across the North West.