Armley Gyratory: First 1970s footbridge to be removed from key Leeds junction and new road closures

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The council has announced road closures on a busy Leeds route as work starts on removing a 1970s bridge to make way for new footways.

Later this month, the Spence Lane footbridge is set to disappear from the Armley Gyratory. The 50-year-old footbridge will be the first of three footbridges to go, with their replacements to include accessible ramps to accommodate people with disabilities.

Leeds City Council said that all the new upgraded footbridges have been designed to ensure they will need less maintenance work in the future.

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Spence Lane footbridge is a four-span footbridge with the largest of the spans, stretching 22.6m and weighing around 50 tonnes. It will be removed by one of the world’s most powerful all terrain cranes.

The removal of the Spence Lane footbridge over the Armley Gyratory is to begin later this month. Photo: Leeds City Council.The removal of the Spence Lane footbridge over the Armley Gyratory is to begin later this month. Photo: Leeds City Council.
The removal of the Spence Lane footbridge over the Armley Gyratory is to begin later this month. Photo: Leeds City Council.

To allow for this work to be completed, commuters have been told to expect a weekend partial closure from 8pm on September 29, until 5.30am on October 2. The approach to the Ingram Distributer (A643) will be closed as well as the Wellington Road exit from the south, re-opening outside of these hours with lane restrictions. Future partial weekend closures are planned to complete the works which will be advertised on the project's website.

For walkers and people in wheelchairs, there will be a diversion in place until spring 2024, while works take place on constructing the new bridges.

It comes as the first phase of the Armley Gyratory highways works have largely been completed, with some additional surfacing and lining to take place shortly on partial night-time closures. Already completed is the widening of the central gyratory and entry island approaches, which links to creating additional lane capacity. Also constructed is the carriageway and pavement widening, 'vehicle restraint system' and underground drainage. The next phase of works will see new traffic signals installed, as well as street lighting and progress landscaping which includes new trees.

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The improvements are designed to increase capacity on the Leeds inner ring road and M621 and reduce city centre through-traffic, following the closure of City Square last year.

Coun Helen Hayden, Leeds City Council’s executive member for sustainable development and infrastructure, said: “We’ve achieved a major milestone after completing resurfacing works on the Armley Gyratory, which already shows signs of accommodating more vehicles and improving traffic flow around the ring road.

"We’d like to thank everyone for their ongoing patience throughout the summer, whilst the road surfacing took place. I would also like to thank the project team and contractor for carrying out these complex works through some poor weather conditions during the summer holidays.

“The next phases of work represent transformative changes to the overhead footways for people walking and wheeling – making it easier to get across the gyratory, either going or away from the city centre. Again, we appreciate some patience while we continue to work hard to minimise disruption and thank those who have already changed the way they travel into and around the city centre.

“I look forward to seeing these new footway structures built and open by the summer next year.”