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Thelwall Viaduct

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Thelwall Viaduct
Location Map ( geo)
Thelwall Viaduct.jpg
Cameraicon.png View gallery (18)
From:  Glebe Farm
To:  Martinscroft Interchange
Lancashire • Cheshire
Highway Authority
National Highways
Opening Date
1963 (1st Span)
1995 (2nd Span)
Additional Information
Bridge Type:  Concrete
On road(s)
Crossings related to the M6

Thelwall Viaduct carries the M6 over the Manchester Ship Canal and the River Mersey near Warrington, crossing the traditional boundary between Cheshire and Lancashire as it does so. It originally opened in 1963 as part of the Warrington to Preston section of the motorway (now junctions 20 to 29). As the A50 and then A49 was still the major route to the North West at this time, the M6 here provided considerable relief for the A49 north of Warrington. As a consequence, the viaduct was destined to be busy from its opening day.

The original construction featured three lanes in each direction although there were no hard shoulders. There were distinctive railings alongisde the edge of the carriageway painted in blue and white. At the time it opened it was the longest road bridge in the country, although within twelve months it was dwarfed by the Forth Road Bridge on the A90. Whilst it was an absolutely impressive feat of 1960s engineering, problems soon became apparent. By the 1980s, the steep approaches and lack of hard shoulders were a major capacity problem. The fact that the M62 and M56 crossed the M6 a few miles either side of the junction also meant lots of traffic was switching between the two routes to access various parts of Manchester. Congestion became routine and the stress upon the viaduct was immeasurable.

In the early 1990s, widening works commenced to eliminate the problem. This required a new viaduct span to be constructed alongside the original 1963 span. Shortly after the completion of the new viaduct, traffic was routed over onto that structure whilst the old one was renovated for four northbound lanes. Unfortunately, after the works were complete it became apparent that the bearings of the 1963 viaduct were worn beyond repair and had to be replaced during a lengthy construction contract between 2001 and 2003. This meant severe congestion in the surrounding area whilst works were carried out.

Thelwall Viaduct
Related Pictures
View gallery (18)
Crossing the Thelwall Viaduct - Geograph - 857150.jpgThelwall Motorway Viaduct - Geograph - 3021.jpgThelwall viaduct across the field - Geograph - 75996.jpgM6 southbound, Thelwall Viaduct - Coppermine - 3155.jpgM6 southbound, Thelwall Viaduct - Coppermine - 3154.jpg
Crossings of the River Mersey and tributaries
River EtherowWoodhead Reservoir Bridge • Woolley Bridge • Compstall Bridge
River GoytLower Macclesfield Rd Bridge • Whaley Bridge • Chapel Bypass Bridge • Bridgemont • Albion Road Bridge • Union Road Bridge • Woodend Bridge • Marple Bridge • Otterspool Bridge • New Bridge (Stockport) • Carrington Bridge (Stockport) • St Marys Way Bridge • Park Bridge
River TameDowry Reservoir Outlet • Denshaw Bridge • Delph Bridge • New Delph Bridge • Tame Water Bridge • Frenches Bridge • Wellihole Bridge • Roaches Bridge • Stalybridge  • Caroline St Bridge • Clarence Bridge • Dukinfield Bridge (Whitelands)  • Alma Bridge • Shepley Bridge • M67 Denton Bridge • Broomstair Bridge • Beight Bridge • M60 - Reddish Vale Bridge • Tiviot Way Bridge • M60 - Stockport Bridge
River MerseyKnightsbridge • Mersey Square Bridge • King Street West Bridge • Hollywood Way Bridge • Brinksway Bridge • M60- Cheadle Heath Bridge • Cheadle Bridge • Kingsway Bridge (Cheadle) • M60 - Northenden Bridge (2) • M60 - Northenden Bridge • Northenden Bridge • River Mersey Bridge • M60 Bridge SE of Junction 7 • Crossford Bridge (Sale) • A6144 Bridge • Flixton Bridge • Warburton Bridge • Thelwall Viaduct • Kingsway Bridge • Warrington Bridge • Mersey Gateway Bridge • Silver Jubilee Bridge • Queensway Tunnel • Kingsway Tunnel

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