construction traffic management

Introduction to the Spence Lane Footbridge Project

The city of Leeds is on the cusp of a significant infrastructural enhancement with the construction of the new Spence Lane footbridge. This initiative is part of a broader project to improve the Armley Gyratory, a key traffic node serving as a gateway to the city. The upcoming footbridge erection works are set to commence on Monday, 13 May, with a scheduled completion by 10 am on Sunday, 19 May. This follows the successful completion of the Gelderd Road footbridge last week.

Spence Lane footbridge, measuring 32.9 metres in length and four metres in width, will provide a crucial link across the A643. Featuring two new accessible ramps, the bridge is crafted to better serve non-motorised users and individuals with disabilities. Catering to long-term planning, the upgraded structures are designed for reduced maintenance and more infrequent inspections in the decades to come.

The engineering intricacies of the bridge necessitate the ramps to be transported in sections and assembled on-site. To minimise the impact on traffic, most of the works will be carried out at night, between 13 May and 18 May. The transport of the new ramp and the crane lift for the main span will necessitate road and lane closures, with clearly signed diversions to facilitate traffic flow.

Traffic Management and Diversions

Anticipating the logistical challenges of the Spence Lane footbridge construction, Leeds City Council has put into place a comprehensive plan for traffic management. Motorists should be aware that there will be five night-time closures affecting the A643 northbound carriageway, starting from Monday, 13 May to Friday, 17 May, between 8 pm and 5:30 am. This section of the carriageway will be closed from junction 2 of the M621 to the Gyratory, making way for the safe delivery of ramp sections under police escort. A diversion route extending five miles has been set up to redirect traffic.

The main span works are scheduled for Saturday, 18 May, and will be conducted throughout the night, concluding by 10 am the following Sunday. The crane needed for the operation will be positioned on the A643 northbound carriageway, and traffic will be maintained in lane 4 of the gyratory during the works. Additional closures will involve the Gyratory exit to Wellington South and the northbound carriageway at Wortley Lane junction, with a 13-mile diversion signed to accommodate all vehicle classes.

In the interest of safety, the transport of the main span will necessitate a unique maneuver along the A643. The load will be escorted by police, necessitating a reverse flow on the southbound carriageway to reach the Gyratory. This carefully controlled operation is scheduled between 8:30 pm and 9:45 pm. Pedestrians should note that alternative routes will be clearly indicated during the main span installation.

Project Timeline and Community Impact

Leeds City Council is committed to keeping the public informed and minimising inconvenience during the construction. All project details, including updates and potential changes due to weather, are available on the Leeds City Council website. Pedestrians and those wheeling can expect diversions until summer 2024, as the city works diligently to complete the new bridges.

The current phase two of the Armley structure programme outlines the completion dates for the Spence Lane and Gelderd Road bridges by summer and spring of 2024, respectively. The Wellington Road Bridge is slated for demolition and reconstruction throughout autumn and winter of 2024/25, pending final designs and approvals. These updates follow the previous removal of the Spence Lane Bridge on 30 September 2023.

Gary Bartlett, Leeds City Council’s chief officer for highways and transportation, expressed his gratitude for the progress made: “We are making significant progress around the Armley Gyratory footbridges. After we completed the Gelderd Road footbridge last week, I am pleased to see we’re now moving to complete Spence Lane footbridge. These are new transformative structures and necessitate careful planning with other works and events across our busy city. I would like to pass on my appreciation to the project team and contractors for carrying out such complex operations.”

Bartlett also urged the public to accommodate these changes: “Please plan ahead on the nights from 13 May to 18 May and follow the signed road diversions in place. We thank everyone for their ongoing 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. These bridges 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. The works are also a bridge engineering challenge, as well as programme challenge to carry out, with the least disruption as possible.”

By george