Next stage for key road schemes
12 June 2018
Three major highways schemes planned for Cheshire East have taken a further step forward following decisions by Cheshire East Council’s cabinet.
The council is moving to the next stage in its preparations for Congleton Link Road, the Middlewich Eastern Bypass and the dualling of the A500 between Junction 16 of the M6 and the outskirts of Crewe.
All three projects are expected to be delivered over the next three to four years and are intended to eradicate serious congestion points on the borough’s highways network.
Cabinet has also chosen a preferred bidder for the £90m Congleton Bypass project – but details will remain confidential until all bidders have been informed.
The council’s final business case for this scheme will now go to the Department for Transport together with a request for confirmation of a £45m government grant. Cheshire East will contribute nearly £24m with the rest of the cost met from developer contributions.
The 3.5-mile highway will relieve Congleton town centre of congestion, release new housing and employment sites and create improved connectivity from Macclesfield to the M6 and from Congleton to the north and to the west.
The whole scheme is expected to be completed in the autumn of 2020. In March this year, the secretary of state gave the council the green light to proceed with compulsory purchase orders for the land acquisitions required.
Nearly 2,000 new homes and 6,500 new jobs are predicted to be created following construction of the Middlewich Eastern Bypass, which is also moving into its next phase following a consultation which showed 79 per cent of respondents complained of traffic congestion and said that a bypass would be the best solution.
Councillor Don Stockton, cabinet member for environment, said: “Subject to planning, we have three major highways schemes which are about to get off the ground and which will make an immense contribution to an enhanced road network in the borough.
“With other planned road schemes elsewhere in the borough we expect to enter the next decade with a highways network to be proud of and which will attract more business opportunities, new homes and economic growth.”
Frank Jordan, the council’s executive director for place, will now prepare a planning application and commence the process for acquiring the land to build the road, prior to starting the procurement process for a contractor. He will then obtain final confirmation of funding.
The Middlewich scheme will cost an estimated £58m, with nearly £12m coming from a combination of developer contributions and council funding.
The council has set aside an additional £400,000 on top of the present £4.1m budget for the preparatory work required to progress the A500 dualling scheme, which will improve links between Crewe and the M6 motorway at Junction 16.
A key objective of the £55m dualling scheme is to improve connectivity in preparation for HS2 construction traffic and to relieve a major pinch-point in the highways network of the borough.
A funding decision from the Department for Transport on the business case is anticipated by the end of 2018, hopefully giving the green light for the project to go ahead subject to the necessary planning approvals, which will be sought this year.
Widening the A500 between Meremoor Moss Roundabout and Junction 16 will also improve road safety and deliver potential employment and housing sites in the south of the borough.
Both the Middlewich Eastern Bypass and the A500 Dualling scheme are still subject to the necessary planning approvals.