The ceremonial sod cutting for the Congleton Link Road
The construction of Congleton Link Road started today (Monday 25th February) at an event attended by GRAHAM Managing Director, Leo Martin, Cheshire East Council’s Leader Councillor Rachel Bailey, Jesse Norman, Minister of State for Transport and Congleton MP Fiona Bruce.
The £90m project is seen as a major economic driver for the town, with the potential to create 3,000 jobs, 2,400 new homes and 20 hectares of new employment land to attract new businesses, all of which could deliver £13m into the local economy.
GRAHAM has been selected to deliver the prestigious highways scheme that involves the construction of a much-needed 5.5km bypass, which will help deliver economic and social regeneration to the town of Congleton, Cheshire.
It will involve a big change to the landscape and, to mitigate the impact, the council is planting over 10 hectares of woodland and shrubs including 381 new trees, 16km of hedgerows, 33 hectares of new grassland and creating six new ecological ponds.
In the opening year, in the rush hour, journeys across Congleton are expected to take about six minutes less than currently and air quality assessments show there will be some significant improvements throughout the town centre including Rood Hill and West Road.
The route for the link road will run to the north of the town, south of Eaton. It will link the A534 Sandbach Road, near its junction with Sandy Lane, to the A536 Macclesfield Road, near its junction with Moss Lane and provide a new crossing at the River Dane.
It will also create improved road connections to both Congleton Business Park and Radnor Park Trading Estate. The scheme attracts strong local support – with calls for a bypass around the town going back 30 or 40 years.
Commenting on the project, Leo Martin, GRAHAM Managing Director - Civil Engineering, said:
“We are delighted to be working in collaboration with Cheshire East Council to construct this important project that will bring economic and social regeneration to Congleton. Our experience completing complex highways projects throughout the UK will be instrumental in ensuring the completion of the link road is to the very highest standards.”
Important road scheme
Cheshire East Council is contributing £24m towards the construction project, with the balance coming from central government and developer contributions.
Councillor Bailey said:
“I am delighted that we are beginning this very important road scheme for our borough today. I’m also thrilled that we were successful with our business case, which has resulted in £45m of the project funding come coming from government funds.
“This council started developing a proposal for a new road around Congleton to match our growth plans back in 2012 and what we have achieved here is a scheme that doesn’t just enable our development plans; it complements, shapes them and levers in over £20m of private sector transport investment into Cheshire East.
“This is the biggest capital project the council has ever done; and it is a credit to the strategic infrastructure team and all those involved that we have managed to deliver this scheme from just a concept in 2012 to where we are today, about to start work, just a few years later, I know it has been challenging at times. This must be some sort of a record for a highways scheme, some of which can take 20 years to deliver.”
Fiona Bruce, MP for Congleton, said:
“This new bypass will not only lead to fewer accidents and cut congestion in Congleton; it will take lorries out of the town centre and improve air quality for residents.
"The road will improve connectivity right across east Cheshire by improving links to Manchester airport, the M60 and the M6. It will also improve connectivity to the rail network, particularly the inter-city connection at Crewe. This road is much wanted, much needed and will future proof the development of Congleton for generations to come.”
Jesse Norman MP, Minister of State for Transport, said:
“Cheshire and Warrington has one of the best performing economies in England. Projects like Congleton Link Road create the conditions for high growth business sectors to flourish, and ensuring that all people in the region’s labour market have access to high quality employment opportunities. Congleton is part of this important story to rebalance the economy through the government’s Northern Power House initiative.”
Councillor Don Stockton, Cheshire East Council Cabinet Member for Highways, said:
“This is yet another important step in improving the connectivity of our road network in the borough. We will work with residents to address any worries during this build process but safety has to be paramount and, whilst short-term disruption in the local area is inevitable, the road will benefit Congleton for years to come.”
The road is due to open to traffic in late 2020. Latest news from the site can be viewed on the council’s website at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/congletonlinkroad