The removal of the Spence Lane footbridge over the Armley Gyratory is scheduled to commence later this month. This marks the initial phase in the replacement of three footbridges encircling the Gyratory. They will be substituted with new footbridges featuring enhanced accessibility, slated for completion next year.
Erected in the early 1970s, these half-century-old footbridges, starting with Spence Lane, are slated for removal and subsequent replacement. The new footbridge will incorporate accessible ramps to better cater to non-motorised users and individuals with disabilities. All the newly upgraded footbridges have been meticulously designed to require less maintenance and inspection in the coming decades.
The Spence Lane footbridge, a four-span structure, boasts the largest span at 22.6 metres and weighs approximately 50 tonnes. Its removal will be executed by one of the world’s most powerful all-terrain cranes.
To facilitate the completion of this work on Spence Lane, motorists are advised of a partial weekend closure beginning at 8 pm on Friday, 29th September, until 5:30 am on Monday, 2nd October. This entails the closure of the approach to the Ingram Distributer (A643) and the Wellington Road exit from the south, both reopening outside of these hours with lane restrictions. Additional partial weekend closures are planned to finalise the works, and these details will be communicated and made available on the project website www.leeds.gov.uk/ArmleyGyratory.
For pedestrians and wheelchair users on the Armley Gyratory footway, a diversion will be in effect until spring 2024, as construction progresses on the new bridges.
The current phase two of the Armley structure programme is as follows:
Spence Bridge (2a): Completion of bridge construction in spring 2024.
Geldard Bridge (2a): Plans for removal and construction over a single weekend in spring 2024.
Wellington Road Bridge (2b): Anticipated removal and construction in summer 2024.
Phase one works on the Armley Gyratory highways are largely finished, with some additional surfacing and lining remediation scheduled to occur shortly during partial night-time closures. Completed tasks include the expansion of the central gyratory and entry island approaches, linking to the creation of additional lane capacity. Additionally, work has been carried out on the carriageway pavement/widening build-up, vehicle restraint system, and subterranean drainage. The upcoming phase of work involves the installation of new traffic signals, street lighting, and progress in landscaping, including the introduction of new trees.
These improvements aim to augment capacity on the Leeds inner ring road and M621 while curbing through traffic in the city centre, a measure instituted following the closure of City Square last year.
Upon completion, the Armley Gyratory will:
Provide more inviting and accessible routes for cyclists and pedestrians.
Enhance safety for all road users.
Enable smoother traffic flow, thereby minimising traffic disruptions on local roads.
Enhance the local environment through new landscaping.
Facilitate improvements elsewhere in the city, including the elimination 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 of next year.”
Diversion plans for motorists and footway users can be found by searching www.Leeds.gov.uk/ArmleyGyratory.
A key objective of the Armley Gyratory scheme is to provide improvements for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as enhance accessibility and replace 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 the lack of space and 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.