Work to connect sections of the new £192 million A556 Knutsford to Bowdon dual carriageway, between the M6 and M56 in Cheshire, will get underway in earnest at the weekend with the opening of its first bridge.
The route of the new road, forming a new link between junction 19 of the M6 at Knutsford and junction 7 of the M56 at Bowdon, has been taking shape for some time as new aerial pictures released today by Highways England show.
However, the need to keep open existing roads which cross the route of the new dual carriageway while it is being built means it has yet to be connected from end to end. Work to move these roads onto bridges over the new road is now underway.
The A50 from Mere, Chapel Lane from Bucklow Hill and Millington Lane – all with junctions along the existing A556 – are all currently running across the path of the new A556 with the route of the new road being excavated on either side of them. Each of the roads will be realigned and moved onto newly-built bridges crossing the new dual carriageway - with the A50 work due for completion by Tuesday (30 August) during a weekend of overnight closures.
Highways England project manager Paul Hampson said:
We’ve worked hard to keep open roads which cross the path of the new A556. This has included constructing the new bridges parallel to the A50, Chapel Lane and Millington Lane so we can simply re-align each road when the time came.
This weekend’s work is an important milestone ensuring we can now start to connect the different sections of the new A556 and realign the A50 over the new bridge with the minimum of fuss.
We appreciate that having temporary traffic lights and full overnight closures of the A50 will create some inconvenience and we’d like to thank local people and other road users for their continued patience and support as we work to complete this important new link between the M56 and M6.
By Tuesday (30 August), all traffic heading between High Legh and Mere crossroads will have started using the new A50 bridge. However, temporary traffic lights and a short section of single lane running will remain in place and further overnight closures will be needed to finish the work – which includes a new roundabout next to the bridge providing a link with the new A556.
Work to run traffic over the new bridges at Chapel Lane and Millington Lane – as well as a new bridge providing farm access at Bentleyhurst Lane – will be done over the next few months.
Meanwhile, construction of new link roads from the M56 onto the A556, including new arrangements at Bowdon roundabout, is also taking place at the moment.
The new aerial pictures released today by Highways England show work around the A50 bridge and roundabout, Chapel Lane, a sections of the new route with hard foundations already in place and looking north up the new dual carriageway from junction 19 of the M6 at Knutsford.
Anyone seeking more information about the project, closures or diversion routes can visit the project webpage.
Construction of the new A556 link road, between the M56 and the M6, started in November 2014 and is due for completion in spring next year. The scheme is part of a £15 billion government investment in motorways and major A roads by 2021 which is being delivered by Highways England as part of the Northern Powerhouse initiative.
Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.
Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.