Motorists are bracing themselves for a whole weekend of congestion when a huge stretch of the A50 closes in Uttoxeter.
The dual carriageway will be closed between the Little Chef and Derby Road roundabouts in both directions from 8pm on Friday, July 7 to 5.30am on Monday.
The backbone of a new bridge will be laid across the dual carriageway during the closure.
Six steel beams, each 47 metres long and weighing approximately 45 tonnes apiece, will be lifted into place by a 750-tonne crane.
Advance notices will be in place on A-roads and motorways, including the M1, M6 and A38, to encourage traffic to take alternative routes.
Signposted diversions will be in place, suitable for all vehicles including HGVs.
A county council spokesman said: “The diversion route will be the same for vehicles travelling in both directions. From the east, traffic will be diverted northwards from the A50 at Uttoxeter on to the B5030 for a few hundred yards to the roundabout with the A518.
“Traffic will turn right there, cross back over the A50 along Dove Way and continue on the A518 clockwise around Uttoxeter and follow the road towards Stafford. Vehicles will then follow the A51 and A34 towards Stoke-on-Trent, before joining the A500 and then the A50 to Blythe Bridge.”
County council economy boss Mark Winnington said: “This is a major piece of engineering which we’re intent on doing as quickly and as safely as possible. We’ve already done a lot of the preparation in advance so we can plan this operation into one weekend’s intense work to minimise the inconvenience.
“We are doing all we can to encourage drivers to avoid the area, including notifying national radio stations for inclusion in travel bulletins, and I would like to thank everyone for their understanding and patience. The signposted diversion routes are there for all vehicles, including HGVs, but it’s inevitable some people with local knowledge will use other routes.”
Access to Alton Towers from the east will be unaffected and those travelling from the west will see notices directing them to initially follow signs for Cheadle. The Shell petrol station, off the westbound carriageway, can be accessed via the A522.
The work is part of an upgraded junction with the A522, which will allow access to the under-construction Bramshall Meadows development without driving through town.
When the beams are installed, embankments either side of the A50 will be built up and a reinforced concrete bridge will be built above the beams.
The A50 and the A522 will be unaffected during that work.
The council spokesman said: “The A50’s the most important link between the East and West Midlands and the planned improvements will also benefit major employers and their employees between Staffordshire and Derbyshire, making journeys quicker, easier and safer.”