This is when Regent Street flyover will be closed as one of UK's largest cranes set to demolish bridge

Demolition of one of the key bridges in Leeds city centre is to begin next month to allow for a £31million rebuild.

Friday, 26th June 2020, 5:00 pm
Updated Friday, 26th June 2020, 5:08 pm

Built in the late 1960s, The Regent Street Flyover, which carries traffic over the Inner Ring Road, has reached the end of its usable life.

From Saturday, July 4, the southern half of the existing flyover will be demolished and removed.

This will see around 2,250 tonnes of steel and concrete removed - the equivalent weight of 550 SUV trucks.

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The Regent Street Flyover (photo: Leeds City Council).

All the steel and concrete will be taken to a recycling centre to be recycled.

There will be a series of weekend closures to allow the work to take place, starting with preparatory work on Friday, June 26 – Monday, June 29, 8pm – 5:30am, with the A64(M) and A61 re-opening outside of these hours with lane restrictions.

The weekends of Friday 4, 11, 18 and 25 July will have full closures which will last from 8pm on Friday evening until Monday morning at 5.30am.

The improvements form part of the Leeds City Council’s Connecting Leeds transport ambitions for the city.

The replacement of flyover, along with complementary works to the Armley Gyratory, ensures the Inner Ring Road will maintain traffic flow across the city and enable the pedestrian prioritisation of City Square.

The council's contractor Balfour Beatty have organised one of the largest cranes in the UK to support the demolition.

It will lift and remove some sections of the bridge to place onto waiting transport, to be escorted away from the site by the police.

The remaining sections which cannot be removed by crane will be removed using a modular transporter, a specialist piece of equipment which drives under the bridge and lifts the sections up free from the bridge.

It then transports them to a safe location on site where they will be broken down into smaller pieces, before being removed from site.

The flyover plays a vital role in the daily life of the city, with an estimated 43,000 vehicles passing over it every day while 30,000 vehicles pass below it on the A61.

Without the works, the flyover would need to close to ensure public safety, the council said.

It should be complete by spring 2022.

Gary Bartlett, chief officer for highways and transport, Leeds City Council said: “Moving vehicles around the outer edge of the city is essential in enabling the council to transform the city centre into a more liveable, greener and better connected city.

"It will help spark major and wider improvement projects and allow an unprecedented opportunity to create better public spaces, for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport.

“These works enable us to take more motorised vehicles and their carbon emissions out of the city centre and contribute towards tackling the Climate Emergency.

“The demolition method is very technical and not the usual way to demolish a bridge, but this method has been chosen because it is the safest method available and also minimises the amount of noise, dust and vibration generated which is essential in this city centre environment with businesses and residential properties nearby.

“Working with partners at the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, bus operators, stakeholders and businesses in the city, our aim is to undertake the work with as little disruption as possible which is why the work was accelerated during lockdown to take advantage of light traffic flow.

"However, we are still urging people to plan their journeys in advance and prepare for some delays.

"Visit our website to find out how you can avoid disruption."