The £10 million replacement of a damaged Liverpool bridge has been delayed due to “unforeseen ground conditions”.
Contractor Graham Construction will need a total redesign of the new foundations on the A565 (Great Howard Street) bridge, situated on a route in and out of the city centre.
The A565 was due to reopen in April but the firm, which is currently drafting a new engineering survey, estimates the road will have to remain closed for a further 16 weeks.
The issue has come to light after weak bridge foundations were removed from the site, and now the new foundations are said to involve significant excavation works in order to place the new bridge on the bedrock, leading to a revised works programme.
According to Liverpool City Council, poor drainage has also brought further difficulties for the scheme, which has involved diverting existing utilities while maintain power lines for surrounding businesses.
Dave Brown, contracts director at Graham Construction, says: “We knew replacing this bridge was a technically challenging scheme and unfortunately these unforeseen ground conditions have only become apparent once we reached an advanced stage of the excavation.
“This delay has been unavoidable and we are sorry for the inconvenience this is going to cause but safety always come first and the integrity of the new bridge is of paramount importance.”
An official diversion route will remain in force via Sandhills Road, Commercial Road, Vauxhall Road and Leeds Street for all traffic including HGVS.
For non-HGVs only, there’s also a route in place via Dublin Street, Regent Road, Waterloo Road and Paisley Street.
Further phases of the £48m programme to upgrade the A565 between 2017 and 2019 will require lane restrictions rather than a road closure.
The improvements include the completion of a dual carriageway on Great Howard Street/Derby Road between King Edward Street and Blackstone Street and Bankhall Street to Millers Bridge; making Regent Road more pedestrian and cyclist friendly; and a new ling road extending Leeds Street to the waterfront.