Cheshire East Council has welcomed news that £3.4million has been granted to tackle congestion and safety issues at Junction 17 of the M6 – one of the most congested stretches of the M6 in the country. Work is expected to be carried out in 2014.
The Sandbach junction is one of 57 vital road improvements costing £170 million announced by Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, today.
The Junction 17 scheme will involve the conversion of the existing slip road junctions to a roundabout on the Sandbach side and the installation of traffic signals on the Congleton side.
The total investment is part of a £217 million programme to remove bottlenecks and keep traffic moving on England’s motorways and major A roads. The economic benefit of these 57 schemes is estimated at around £3 billion.
Today’s announcement brings the total number of schemes to receive investment from the Government’s Pinch Point fund to 65. A third stage of projects will be announced next year. The £220million Pinch Point fund was introduced in the Government’s Logistics Growth Review to unlock key congestion points that impact on accessibility.
Cheshire East’s Cabinet member in charge of prosperity and economic regeneration, Councillor Jamie Macrae said: “This is outstandingly good news for Cheshire East and marks the end of 12 months hard work with the Highways Agency to find an immediate solution to the current congestion at this key motorway junction. It was necessary to create a scheme which not only addressed this problem but avoided costly work that involved the gas line which runs next to the M6.
“The junction at the moment supports the traffic accessing the larger cities served by the M6 as well as traffic using the motorway to access employment in surrounding towns.
“Our continued efforts to access funding for our road networks and transport issues has really paid off in the last 12 months. In June, the Council secured a £3.5million grant from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund to transform Crewe’s public transport network.
“In November last year, the Council secured £16million funding from the Department for Transport (DfT) for the Crewe Green Link Road, a key component of the All Change for Crewe regeneration programme. This major project is central to the plans to enhance greatly the future prosperity of Crewe and the surrounding region to make it a significant economic centre by 2030.
“In addition, last month, it was announced that the Council has submitted a bid for £6.15million to the Regional Growth Fund for the Congleton Link Road connecting Macclesfield Road with Sandbach Road, passing through countryside to the north of Congleton. The bid proposed a £5.85 million contribution by the Council and a further £2.8 million from development contributions.
“The Council is committed to ensuring continuing future prosperity for Cheshire East, either providing or securing investment in existing and new road infrastructure. These four schemes will mean less congestion and a superior road network as well as creating jobs plus spending power within the borough.
“We continue to work with the Highways Agency and the DfT to bring further investment to the M6 corridor – one of the most congested stretches of motorway in the country.”
A spokesman for the Highways Agency said: “I am sure drivers in this part of Cheshire will share in our delight that the Government has agreed to fund this improvement. We are looking forward to working with Cheshire East Council to deliver this project and will ensure drivers are kept informed of progress before and after roadworks start. We do of course plan all improvement work with the aim of minimising disruption to drivers' journeys during any roadworks.”