The railway between Manchester Piccadilly and Crewe will reopen to trains this weekend after four consecutive weekends of work to replace a road bridge over the West Coast main line using a huge 1,000-tonne crane.
Network Rail has worked round-the-clock over the last four weekends to safely remove the concrete arched bridge on Sydney Road.
Time-lapse cameras filmed the complicated demolition work of the old structure and the lifting into place of the steelwork for its bigger and better replacement – nine huge steel beams now span the railway and will form the base of the brand-new road bridge.
The project is being delivered by Network Rail on behalf of Cheshire East Council and will replace the single-lane road bridge with a structure wide enough for two-way traffic and safer routes for cyclists and pedestrians.
Chris Atkins, scheme project manager for Network Rail, said: “We have reached a major milestone in the project to replace Sydney Road bridge in Crewe, which we are delivering on behalf of Cheshire East Council.
“The old bridge has been removed and all the major steelwork has been successfully installed, which means that the remaining works can be completed without further disruption to passengers.
“We’d like to thank passengers, residents and road users for their patience.”
Councillor Don Stockton, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for highways, said: “The removal of the old bridge and installation of the new structure was an impressive feat of engineering and represents a major milestone in this project, which I’m pleased to say continue to progress on programme.
“We recognise that the works at Sydney Road Bridge have caused disruption to nearby residents and to motorists and we would like to reiterate our thanks to them for their patience and understanding.
“Once this major scheme has been completed in just a few months’ time, it will remove the ‘pinch point’, which was created by the previous bridge, and the town and local residents will be able to feel the benefits.
“It will also help to unlock the north west corridor of Crewe.”
Christine Gaskell CBE DL, chair of Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Crewe is an important economic centre and it’s vital our businesses operate in an environment that allows them to thrive.
“Part of that is ensuring their people can reach work quickly and easily, so we are delighted that the Sydney Road Bridge project continues to move forward, with the schedule of works for this important gateway on target.
“The LEP, through its £201m local growth fund allocation, contributed £5.85m as part of our ongoing commitment to growing the Cheshire and Warrington economy and that of the Northern Powerhouse.”