Work is getting under way on a multi-million-pound scheme to improve the A500 near Crewe – that will help unlock growth, jobs and better connectivity.
The £11.2m joint scheme between Cheshire East Council and the Highways Agency will see the installation of traffic signals on Junction 16 and the widening of the A500 to two lanes approaching the junction.
Funding for this joint scheme has been received from the Department for Transport’s (DfT) ‘pinch point’ programme and the project will be managed by the Highways Agency under agreement with the Council.
The Junction 16 scheme will help ease traffic congestion to the proposed Basford East and West development sites.
These are strategic employment sites that are a key part in the council’s vision to help create up to 12,500 jobs over the next two decades as part of the ambitious ‘All Change for Crewe’ programme.
Contractors have already been doing preparatory work, while laybys and two footpaths affected by the project will be closed on July 1. Major construction work will begin shortly after this. The footpaths will reopen when the scheme is complete.
Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “This is fantastic news for Crewe and for Cheshire East as a whole. Getting this key scheme under way is yet another massive boost for future job creation and the economic regeneration of Crewe and beyond.
“The project is the culmination of years of hard work and lobbying by the Council and is the latest in a series of successful road bids for this authority, which aims to put residents first and deliver better connectivity and jobs-led, plan-led growth for the people of Cheshire East.
“Improving connectivity between our communities and the M6 is one of the cornerstones of the Council’s vision for a less-congested and better-integrated road network that will help transform Crewe and surrounding areas into an economic powerhouse by 2030.
“This Council is continuing to deliver on that ambition and will be monitoring the success of the Highways Agency’s traffic management to ensure the best results for our local roads.
“One of our key aims is for Cheshire East to have a strong and resilient economy and improving the roads in and around the Borough ensures that we will gain an even greater reputation as an excellent place to live, visit and do business. Cheshire East is the best in the North West and the place to be.”
The A500 scheme will see a 600 metre-long widening of the A500 on the approach to the M6 at junction 16 on the Crewe side.
This will create an additional full-length lane along that stretch of the A500, which will then taper into a shorter third lane.
The scheme is due for completion by Christmas.
For safety reasons, construction work will be carried out under a 50mph speed limit restriction and overnight closures, which will be co-ordinated with other road schemes planned on the wider road network to minimise disruption to traffic.
Care will be taken to coordinate works to minimise disruption. Regular updates on the progress of the construction and on disruption to traffic will be provided via media bulletins, social media and the Council’s website at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk
Recent successful bids by Cheshire East to the DfT include:
● £3.2m of funding to help tackle congestion and safety issues at Junction 17 of the M6. The proposals include the installation of traffic signals on the Congleton and a new roundabout at the top of the slip roads on the Sandbach side;
● £2.7m of ‘local pinch point’ funding towards the Basford West spine road linking the A500 at Shavington with Gresty Road in Crewe, with work proposed to begin in summer 2014;
● £15.7m of approved funding for the Crewe Green Link Road South scheme, which will further improve access to Crewe’s strategic investment sites;
● £6m investment at Crewe Rail Exchange to improve pedestrian access and provide a new entrance, parking and improved retail facilities at the rail station.