Major repair works are set to see significant delays for motorists using one of the main routes leading out of Wigan town centre next month.
Structural work has been planned for the 71-year-old Adam Bridge on Southgate, which carries the Wigan to Kirkby line over the River Douglas and is part of the Saddle Junction, this August.
Throughout the works there will be two lanes open at all times, and only one lane closed, to minimise any disruption to motorists
Drivers had been warned the operation, being undertaken near the Ormskirk Road junction, by borough council engineers, would officially begin in July.
But now the starting date for the 12-week repairs schedule, which is expected to involve alternating lane closures, for the M6-bound and Robin Park routes, is now understood to have been pushed back.
A Wigan Council spokesman said: “We will be conducting essential structural work to the top of the bridge to replace the waterproofing membrane. Work is expected to start in late summer.
“The work will be done in two phases and there will be lane closures on Southgate and the Saddle Junction whilst the work is being carried out.
“Throughout the works there will be two lanes open at all times, and only one lane closed, to minimise any disruption to motorists. The lanes will be closed in phases as work to each section of the bridge is completed.”
Roadworks on an earlier stretch of the A49, near the Pottery Terrace junction, are expected to be cleared by the end of this month.
The new viaduct work could put extra pressure on the B5238 Poolstock Lane, already considered to be the busiest ‘B’ road in the borough.
An estimated 26,000 vehicles per day use the route as a way of avoiding repeated hold-ups and congestion around the Saddle. The last time the bridge, originally constructed by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway Company, was overhauled in early 2008 it was a major undertaking. Strengthening works saw the line closed to rail traffic for a weekend.
Adam Bridge, which replaced an older wooden alternative at the end of the Second World War, earned listed status from English Heritage in March 2001.
A Network Rail spokesman confirmed the current bridge works are not expected to lead to any alterations to rail services between Wigan and Kirkby.