M56 closure: Manchester motorists warned of travel misery as second bridge work set to close motorway

By Matt Davies

Manchester drivers should brace themselves for another weekend of possible disruption, ahead of a second motorway closure this month.

The second of two new bridges is set to be installed this weekend as part of a project to link the Metrolink network with Manchester Airport.

The M56 will be shut between Junction 2 and Junction 5 in both directions for a 24-hour period starting at 10pm on Saturday November 24.

The closure will start to be introduced at 9pm, with lane closures ahead of the two junctions, before the motorway is shut to all traffic an hour later.

Traffic must exit at Junction 2 at Sharston and Junction 5 for Manchester Airport during the closure period.

Diversions will be signposted and the electronic motorway boards will advise drivers on alternative routes.

Longer distance travellers are advised to use alternative motorway routes, including the M56 and M6.

It is possible that the motorway may reopen before 10pm on Sunday but the Highways Agency has advised drivers to check before travelling.

 “We’ve worked very closely with the Highways Agency to plan for these closures,” said Philip Purdy, TfGM’s Metrolink Director.

“We’re making sure we give residents, businesses and motorists advance notice of the work and give them the chance to plan and prepare accordingly.”

The Highways Agency’s Service Delivery Manager, Andy Withington, said all parties involved were aiming to minimalize the disruption associated with the project.

“The Metrolink extension to Manchester International Airport is part of an important investment in the transport infrastructure of Greater Manchester and the whole region,” he said.

“We have been working closely with TfGM, Metrolink and MPT [building contractors] to help them deliver these two bridges over the M60 and M56 but at the same time minimise disruption and inconvenience to motorway users”.

The second new structure is located between Junction 3 and Junction 4 of the motorway next to an existing bridge at Hollyedge Road.

The bridge decks are made from strengthened steel and will be placed on pre-built concrete supports using two self -propelled modular transporters.

Live traffic information can be found on the Highways Agency website at and on Twitter at @HAtraffic_nwest

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Alternative route options can be found here

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