Holidaymakers are being urged to plan ahead as a partial closure of the M56 near Manchester Airport this weekend is set to cause long delays.
The motorway will be closed in both directions from 9pm on Friday, March 25 to 5.30am on Monday, March 28. For those traveling towards Manchester junctions nine at Lymm Interchange to junction five for Manchester airport will be shut.
For drivers traveling away from Manchester, junction five to junction eight at Bowden will be closed. Diversions are in place but are set to add an extra 25 miles to motorist’s journey times.
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Manchester Airport has warned passengers to allow extra time to arrive for their flights. It comes as bosses warned that long queues which have plagued the airport are set to continue ‘for weeks.’
Huge snaking queues have been reported at Check-in, Security, and Passport Control, as well as issues in other departments including baggage reclaim. It has in the words of one passenger, created ‘carnage’ for many travellers.
This week, bosses admitted they are struggling with staff shortages due to a surge in international travel following the lifting of all remaining coronavirus measures. Karen Smart, managing director of Manchester Airport, said: “We want to apologize to all our customers who have experienced disruption over the last couple of weeks.
“We want to be clear with our customers that getting back to full strength is going to take time and there will unfortunately be periods over the next few weeks when it will take longer to get through the airport than it should.”
The M56 closure is necessary to install two 60 tonne ‘superspan’ gantries and other equipment in preparation for the launch of a Smart Motorway.
National Highways project manager, Clare Bond said: “Very good motorway diversions will be in place at the weekend but we are urging drivers to spend a little more time planning their journeys – including checking traffic conditions before setting out, leaving a bit of extra time for traveling and following the fun information.”
Diversions via the M60, M62 and M6 for westbound traffic and M6, M62 and M60 for eastbound drivers will be in place. Drivers from Cheshire, Wales and Midlands heading to the airport will need to use the diversion route from junction nine of the M56 via the northbound M6, eastbound M62 and anti-clockwise M60 to access the westbound M56.
The closure’s been put in place due to work on an £85 million motorway upgrade. In a statement on the airport’s website, bosses said: “The closure of the M56 will be in place from 9pm Friday 25 March, until 5.30am Monday 28 March 2022.
“To safely complete these works, National Highways will be closing both carriageways for the full weekend as follows: Junctions 9 to 5 will be closed for eastbound traffic (heading towards Manchester).
“Junctions 5 to 8 will be closed for westbound traffic (heading away from Manchester). Traffic will be diverted while this work is being carried out.
“Drivers are asked to follow the signed M56 diversion routes during these closures. Please do not use satnav when following the diversion. Delays are expected, before traveling plan ahead and allow extra time to complete your journey.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.