DRIVERS are facing severe delays due to the closure of the M56 at the end of the month.

The motorway at Manchester Airport will be shut as work to install a new £5.5 million bridge at Thorley Lane between junction 6 at Hale and junction 5, nears completion.

The Highways Agency says the final phase of the bridge works will begin with a full weekend closure of the M56

The closure between junction 6 at Hale and junction 5 at Manchester Airport will occur between from 10pm on Friday, February 27 and 5am on Monday, March 2.

Access for people heading to Manchester Airport will be maintained at all times throughout the weekend – but other drivers are urged to avoid the area and use the official diversion routes instead.

Highways Agency's Mark Mosley said: “The end is now in sight and following the demolition of the old bridge last August we have been building the new bridge on a site next to the motorway.”

“The work does require a second and very unusual full weekend closure of the motorway but access to the airport will be maintained at all times. Other drivers should completely avoid this part of the motorway network and use the very good diversions we’ll have in place.”

During the closure drivers heading along the eastbound M56 to Manchester Airport from the M6, other parts of Cheshire and North Wales will need to leave the motorway at junction 6 and use the short diversion to the airport via Runger Lane. All other drivers will need to use the M6, M62 and M60 diversion route in place from junction 9 of the M56 at Lymm Interchange.

Drivers heading to Manchester Airport from Manchester, the M60 and routes further east such as those in Yorkshire can access the airport as normal - from the westbound M56 at junction 5.

However, anyone wanting to travel beyond the airport into Cheshire and towards North Wales should totally avoid the M56 and use the M60, M62 and M6 diversion via Lymm Interchange instead. Manchester Airport's director of passenger services, Wayne Poole said: “Whilst every effort is being made to minimise the disruption to airport users, the M56 closure will affect people travelling to and from Manchester Airport so we ask that people plan ahead for this closure and leave extra time to complete their journeys.

For more information contact the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000.