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Thursday 15 January 2015

Weekend closure as £2.3m Sandbach M6 junction improvements take shape


Drivers are being advised that the junction of the M6 at Sandbach will be totally closed to traffic for a whole weekend later this month as work on a £2.3m upgrade forges ahead.

Work to upgrade junction 17 (J17) by improving motorway joining and leaving arrangements began in November and is on course to be completed by March.

Most of the work so far has involved daily overnight closures of the slip roads and the A534 between Sandbach and Congleton, which runs over the motorway at J17. 

The same closures will be needed for a whole weekend later this month, starting from 8pm on Friday, January 23 and lasting until 6am on Monday, January 26.

While the main carriageway of the motorway will be unaffected by this work,  bridge repairs elsewhere along the M6 the same weekend will mean overnight closures of the main carriageway between junction 18 at Holmes Chapel and junction 16 for Barthomley.

Drivers normally using J17 will in any case have to use either junction 18 or junction 16 to join or leave the motorway during the weekend junction closure.

The one-off weekend closure is needed to undertake essential protection works to the underground services. This is necessary for the re-modelling work along the A534, which is getting a new roundabout and traffic lights at the motorway slip roads. No further weekend closures are anticipated.

Councillor David Topping, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of service commissioning, said: “This is important work that requires a temporary disruption during daylight hours.

“We will be working with the Highways Agency’s service providers Balfour Beatty Mott Macdonald to ensure any disruption is kept to a bare minimum – and we thank road users in advance for their patience and understanding at this time.

“Work on this pinch-point scheme to improve J17 at Sandbach is just the latest phase in our long-term commitment to investing in and improving our road network for the benefit of local people, businesses and visitors.

“This Council understands that Cheshire East’s highway network is vital to the functioning and economic wellbeing of the Borough and that is why it is investing £25m in roads across the Borough, targeting those areas with the greatest need and greatest long-term benefit for local people and visitors alike.”

Highways Agency project manager Jakub Malaj said: “We would like to thank drivers and other local people for their patience so far, as work progresses. This weekend closure was anticipated in planning the programme of work and we will be doing all we can to complete as much as we can during the full closure to minimise any future inconvenience to drivers.

“Clearly-signed diversions will be in place for anyone normally joining or leaving the motorway at J17 or travelling between Holmes Chapel and Congleton and drivers should leave a little bit of extra time to complete journeys.”

The junction improvement project is part of the Government’s £317m ‘pinch-point’ initiative – a two year programme of targeted works being delivered alongside larger schemes and routine maintenance and improvements along the strategic road network.

The pinch-point programme, devised with the input of councils and local enterprise partnerships, is designed to help stimulate new development and local economic growth by improving road safety and tackling congestion bottlenecks. In all, 28 projects, worth £66m, are being delivered across the North West.

The improvements at J17 include:

● Constructing a new roundabout at the top of the northbound off slip road;

● Providing a free-flow link from the A534 to the M6 northbound;

● Installing new traffic signals on the southbound off slip road;

● Providing a designated left turn onto the M6 southbound slip road; and

● Installing new lighting and improving drainage, surfacing, road markings and signing.

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