Following completion of the repair work, Chester’s historic Northgate Steps have officially reopened to the public, just in time for Christmas . The steps repair was completed in September but they were not reopened as further investigations were needed. These have now been completed and some temporary repairs carried out on the City Walls at this location. The steps had been propped up with scaffolding since 2011 with the current repairs beginning in April 2016 ( Work begins on Northgate walls repair – The Chester blog) The extended repair period was complicated by the discovery of foundation stones thought to be part of the original Roman gate.
The Council’s Deputy Leader Councillor Karen Shore said: “This has been a long, complex and challenging project, involving the recording of archaeological finds and ongoing liaison with Historic England, as well the difficulties involved in carrying out heavy civil engineering work is a very tight site, close to residents’ homes.
“Because of the Covid pandemic, we couldn’t mark this occasion with a large celebration. So I would like to thank all the residents, businesses and contractors who were involved or affected by this project.”
The temporary repairs to the city walls at this location will need further work in the future, but this will take place after the completion of the ongoing Northgate development and ‘Clockwise’ traffic management scheme.
Nearby Water Tower Road will also reopen to traffic during the week beginning 14 December once the scaffolding on the site is taken down.
Work to install an illuminated rail on the new outer handrail will mean the Northgate Steps will need to close briefly in January 2021, and a temporary timber one will be in place until then. This work is scheduled to take around two days.
Repairs to the collapsed wall at the back of the Grosvenor Shopping centre are underway with a temporary walkway expected to be installed “before Christmas”. When installed the only remaining closure will be at the Bridgegate, located at the end of Lower Bridge Street, which was closed for safety reasons.
Propping will take place on this section in mid-January 2021. Current plans are that scaffolding will be erected during the week beginning 4 January, 2021 and will take around two weeks to install.
To allow the work to take place and minimise disruption to traffic, an evening road closure will be needed on Lower Bridge Street, between Castle Drive and Shipgate Street, from Monday, 11 to Friday, 15 January between the hours of 7pm and 10.30pm. The diversion route will be via Old Dee Bridge, Handbridge, Overleigh Road, Grosvenor Road, Grosvenor Street and Lower Bridge Street.
This action will enable this section of the City Walls to reopen, while plans are developed to permanently resolve the issues with Bridgegate Bridge.
Further details Chester city walls (cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk)