14 Sep 2023
Armley Gyratory highways construction enters next phase to replace footbridges
The removal of the Spence Lane footbridge over the Armley Gyratory is to begin later this month. This is the first of three footbridges around the Gyratory which will be removed and replaced with new footbridges with more accessible footways, set to complete next year.
Built in the early 1970’s the fifty-year-old footbridges, starting with Spence Lane are to be removed and then replaced with a new footbridge to include accessible ramps to better meet the needs of non-motorised users and people with disabilities. All the new upgraded footbridges have been designed to ensure they will need less maintenance work and inspection, over future decades.
Spence Lane footbridge is a four-span footbridge with the largest of the spans, stretching 22.6 metres and weighing around 50 tonnes. It will be removed by one of the world’s most powerful all terrain cranes.
To allow for this Spence Lane work to be completed, motorists are advised there will be a weekend partial closure, starting 8pm Friday 29 September, until 530am Monday 2 October. With the approach to the Ingram Distributer (A643) closed and Wellington Road exit closed 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 communicated and available on the project website www.leeds.gov.uk/ArmleyGyratory
For the Armley Gyratory footway for people walking or wheeling, there will be a diversion in place until spring 2024, while works take place on constructing the new bridges.
The current phase two Armley structure programme:
Spence Bridge (2a) Spring 2024 bridge construction completion.
Geldard Bridge (2a) Spring 2024 – plans for removal and construction over single-weekend.
Wellington Road Bridge (2b) removal and construction anticipated summer 2024
Phase one highways construction
The Armley Gyratory highways phase one works are substantially complete, with some additional remedial 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 pavement/widening build-up, vehicle restraint system and underground drainage. The next phase of works is to complete installation of new traffic signals, street lighting and progress landscaping which includes new trees.
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.
Once complete the Armley Gyratory will:
- Provide more appealing and accessible routes for both cyclists and pedestrians
- Improve safety for all road users
- Allow traffic to flow more freely, minimising traffic impacts on local roads
- Improve the local environment through new landscaping; and
- Help facilitate improvements elsewhere in the city, including removal of through traffic at City Square.
Councillor 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.”
Diversion plans for motorists and footway users can be found by searching www.Leeds.gov.uk/ArmleyGyratory
Further bridges information
A key objective of the Armley Gyratory scheme is to provide improvements for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as enhancing accessibility, and replacing the existing footbridges over Gelderd Road and Spence Lane.
The footbridges on Gelderd Road and Spence Lane are both 50 years old and provide a narrow 1.8m wide footway. This presents challenges to all users due to lack of space and from the steep gradient of the access ramps. The new bridges will be constructed to the latest specifications, providing a wider bridge deck of four-metres, which will significantly improve accessibility. In addition to expanding the space for users, Spence Lane bridge is designed to a shallower gradient to allow cyclists and wheelchair users to safely cross the southern side of the gyratory. The Gelderd Road approach ramp will provide a three-metre wide shared footway, as well as seating and rest areas, after consultation with the council’s disability and well-being network. Both bridges are designed to require minimal maintenance over the next century.
The bridges will consist of prefabricated components that have been prepared off-site, which will allow them to be lifted in and installed on-site in a short space of time and will limit disruption at this busy junction.
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