Plans for a major upgrade of the A556 between the M6 and the M56 will be put to the public for comments this month.
A 12-week consultation on the proposals for a road scheme to relieve congestion and improve safety along the route, will start on Monday 23 January 2012 and run until Monday 16 April 2012.
A public exhibition, where people will be able to see the plans and speak to the project team, will be held at Cottons Hotel and Spa on Manchester Road in Knutsford on Saturday 28 January from 10am until 5pm, on Tuesday 31 January from 10am until 9pm and on Thursday 9 February from 1pm until 9pm.
As part of the scheme a new 4.7 mile (7.5km) dual carriageway will run between Junction 19 of the M6 near Knutsford in Cheshire and Junction 7 of the M56 near Bowdon in Greater Manchester – taking take traffic away from local villages, bypassing Over Tabley, Mere and Bucklow Hill.
The current route of the A556 is often heavily congested, with approximately 51,500 vehicles travelling along it every day. Just over one in every ten vehicles is a heavy goods vehicle, and there have been 118 accidents along the road in a five-year period.
Jeremy Bloom, Senior Development Manager, at the Highways Agency, said:
“This is a major project which should help tackle road safety and congestion issues for road users travelling through Cheshire and Greater Manchester. It will also improve life for people living along the existing route of the A556, by taking traffic away from local communities.
“The consultation is your opportunity to let us know what you think about the scheme. We’re interested in comments on everything from the layout and locations of junctions, to the plans for the existing road and the arrangements during construction.
“If you live in the area or regularly drive along the A556 then you’ll know what the problems are so we want to hear what you think of our plans. We’ll take into account all the suggestions we receive when we develop our final proposals.”
The new dual carriageway will run mainly to the west of the existing A556 and will be built below ground level where possible, minimising the impact on the surrounding area. As well as the two motorway junctions, there will be other junctions along the new route for access to local communities.
The road will rejoin the existing A556 for a short section north of Bucklow Hill, which will be upgraded to modern dual carriageway standards. Improvements will also be made to the layout of Junction 7 of the M56.
The part of the A556 being bypassed by the new dual carriageway will be reduced from two lanes to one lane in each direction to discourage its use by through traffic. The disused lanes will be replaced with grass verges.
On 23 January, leaflets and other information will also be available throughout the consultation at Knutsford Library, Macclesfield Town Hall, Sandbach Library, Trafford Council’s ‘Welcome Point’ at Waterside House in Sale, Little Bollington Primary School, and the Highways Agency office at Piccadilly Gate in Manchester.
Following the public consultation, the project team will review all suggestions and comments. The proposals will be amended to take into account all issues and comments before being submitted to the Infrastructure Planning Commission.
Subject to the successful completion of statutory processes work is due to start before March 2015.