A bridge over the M6 will be dismantled next month as part of major work to upgrade the motorway in Staffordshire.
Highways England is removing the Burton Bank Footbridge, north of junction 13, that was built in the early 1960s.
Due to the curved shape of the footbridge, there isn’t enough headroom for HGVs to travel along the new lane that will be replacing the hard shoulder and allowing for all lane running. The bridge is too low for the required safety clearance when the hard shoulder becomes a new running lane.
The footbridge, near Stafford, is nearly 200ft (60m) in length and weighs around 140 tonnes. In total it contains enough concrete to fill around 20 tipper trucks.
It is the second bridge to be removed as part of work to upgrade the motorway between junction 13 (Stafford) and junction 15 (Stoke-on-Trent) after Creswell Home Farm bridge, just north of junction 14, was demolished last year.
The motorway closure will start on Saturday 23 March with significant lane restrictions from 5pm, leading into a full closure by 8pm. Drivers are warned to expect delays from 5pm. The motorway will reopen on Sunday, March 24 as soon as work allows.
Highways England smart motorways project sponsor Peter Smith said: “Demolishing an arched bridge is a very complex job and to do it safely we need to use both carriageways of the motorway, which means it will be closed for up to 18 hours.
“We’ll be doing all we can to minimise disruption in Stafford and the surrounding area and I’d like to thank motorists, businesses and residents in advance for their patience.
“I’d also urge anyone wanting to use the M6 in that area on March 23 and 24 to plan an alternative route to avoid congestion in the area. Please also allow extra travel time and fuel for your journey.”
While the work takes place, traffic will be diverted off the M6 between junctions 13 and 14 and will use the A449 and A34 as the diversion route. This route has been agreed with local authority partners and will be kept clear of other works during the demolition. Drivers are warned to expect delays and urged to avoid the area if possible, allowing lots of extra time for essential journeys.
To reduce M6 traffic on the day, signs will alert motorists to the closure as far away as Dover and Carlisle. Motorists and hauliers travelling between the North West and the Midlands and South of England will be urged to avoid the area by using the M62 and M1.
Work began last year and the project is due to be completed by March 2022.
More information is available on the M6 junction 13 to 15 smart motorway scheme web page.