Highways England will close the M6 for around 18 hours next month to take down an arch bridge standing in the way of an all lane running scheme.
Owing to the curved shape of the Burton Bank Footbridge, north of junction 13, there will not be enough headroom for HGVs to travel along the new lane that will replace the hard shoulder on the new smart motorway.
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.’
The footbridge near Stafford, which was built in the early 1960s, is nearly 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. The motorway will re-open the next day ‘as soon as work allows’.
Highways England said the diversion route has been agreed with local authority partners and will be kept clear of other works during the demolition.
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 on the smart motorway project began last year and the project is due to be completed by March 2022.