14 weeks of work to begin on M6 bridge near Preston that was struck by lorry in 2018
A motorway bridge north of Preston which was damaged in a lorry crash three years ago will undergo 14 weeks of repairs.
The access bridge, which crosses the M6 at Barnacre and links farmland on either side of the motorway, was struck by a lorry in July 2018.
The force of the crash caused serious structural damage to one of the support columns and Highways chiefs feared that the bridge would collapse.
Urgent repairs were made to secure it, leading to huge delays on the M6 between junctions 32 (Broughton) and 33 (Galgate).
The damaged concrete column was removed and replaced with a temporary steel support which has remained in place for nearly three years. But this will soon be replaced by a new permanent support column to ensure the long-term safety of the bridge.
To do this, Highways have planned for 14 weeks of repairs this spring, with work to begin on Saturday, April 14 and continue until late July.
Highways had planned to commence work in Autumn last year, but this was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Project manager Chris Riley says efforts will be made to minimise disruption to journeys, but reduced speed limits and some lane closures will be necessary.
"Our key aim is to minimise disruption and keep drivers on the move, " says Chris, "so we'll be mainly using narrow lanes during this work with some lane closures overnight."
He said a 50mph speed limit will be in place past the roadworks and there will be "occasional" overnight closures on the southbound carriageway. When these closures are in place, motorists will be diverted via the A6.
The bridge deck will need to be temporarily propped up - as it was in 2018 after the original column was damaged in the lorry crash - whilst the new column is constructed in the verge alongside the southbound carriageway.
New foundations will then need to be built before the replacement column can be installed and repairs completed in late July.