A £5 million upgrade of the old A556 between Knutsford and Bowdon in Cheshire has officially been handed to local communities as a new B road – complete with a dedicated route for the area’s cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders.
Highways England has converted the old A556 Chester Road - which has been replaced by the £192 million Knutsford to Bowdon bypass - into the B5569, a new 5.4km B road which will now be operated by Cheshire East Council.
The road was formally ‘detrunked’ and handed over to the council at a special ribbon-cutting ceremony near Mere crossroads this morning, attended by key officials from Highways England, Cheshire East Council, parish councillors and Tatton MP Esther McVey.
Highways England project manager Paul Hampson said:
This is a significant milestone for the Knutsford to Bowdon project – a result of our determination to deliver a lasting legacy for local people following the completion of the new dual carriageway in March.
Su Russell, Chairlady of CycleKnutsford, said she was delighted the group had been invited to the opening of what she described as a ‘landmark’ designated cycleway - the first in Cheshire - and hoped it would lead the way to further cycling initiatives in the county.
Highways England and its main contractor Costain have kept CycleKnutsford informed throughout the process and taken into consideration cyclists and the environment generally at every possible opportunity.
CycleKnutsford members can’t wait to get out on their bikes and explore the new safe segregated cycleway.
Since the new A556 opened to drivers in March, work to convert the old road has included:
turning the old northbound 2 lane carriageway into a dedicated, segregated green route for pedestrians, cyclists and horses riders – 4 metres wide and separated from the new B road by a wide border planted with a wild flower mix
converting the old 2 lane southbound carriageway into a new B road with as single lane in each direction
installing brand new drainage along the new route as well as totally resurfacing the re-arranged layout
providing totally new junction layouts at Bucklow Hill/Chapel Lane and Mere junctions giving priority to the A5034 and A50 traffic
installing a signalised Pegasus crossing – specifically designed to assist horse riders - at the junction between the green route and the A50 at Mere
The green route even has a Pegasus system to allow safer crossing over junctions for horseriders
Mr Hampson said:
We would like to thank local people for their patience since March when the conversion work started in earnest. We hope they agree the new dedicated route for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders as well as the new single carriageway B road and new junction arrangements at Bucklow Hill and Mere have been well worth the wait.
Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.
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