The A536 Congleton Link Road is a 'crucial piece of infrastructure' that is helping to deliver 'economic and social regeneration' to the town of Congleton in Cheshire. It is now named Wolstenholme Elmy Way - after Congleton's famous pioneering educationalist and campaigner for votes for women, Elizabeth Clarke Wolstenholme Elmy.
The 5.7km bypass joins the A534 Sandbach Road (to the west of Congleton) with the A536 Macclesfield Road (to the north of the town).
Our five-phased, sequenced programme of works, which was split into five mainline zones in order to meet the agreed sectional completion dates, began in February 2018. The overall scheme officially opened in April 2021. During rush hour, traffic journeys across Congleton are now expected to take circa six minutes less than the current rate. Air quality assessments also indicate that there will be substantial improvements throughout the town centre.
For a project of this size and complexity, our programme progress from inception to completion was described by Cheshire East Council as 'nothing short of astonishing'.
The team's pursuit of innovation, exemplified in our solution to alter the design of the bridge crossing the River Dane, was also singled out for praise by the council. In summary, we converted a three-span proposal into a two-span 87m structure. This led to the removal of the twin risks of working in the river and excavating in poor ground conditions. We also optioneered the complex foundation design for the highly skewed Giantswood Lane Bridge, achieving an optimum solution that incorporated a semi-integral bridge with 900mm diameter bored piles - a meaningful change that was cost neutral.
Equally, this project features a range of value engineering earthwork solutions. Notably, in rationalising embankments with vertical alignment checks, we achieved a £0.5m saving through the reduction of earthworks by approximately 10% (40,000m3).
Meanwhile, as a genuine partner to the council and local community throughout the works, we were recognised with the prestigious Social Impact CECA Award.
The design and construction of a range of bridge structures were major components of our A536 Congleton Link Road project.
Collaborative working, particularly with our design partners, was central to the successful delivery of the bridge portfolio. This was evident in our solution to de-risk the construction of the River Dane Bridge, which was re-designed from a three-span structure to a two-span 87m structure. This reduced the temporary works requirements as well as the health, safety and environmental risks of river working at the toe of a steep escarpment.
“The Congleton Link Road represents another major highways scheme in the ongoing programme of infrastructure development across the borough; helping to unlock and support further economic growth, new investment, jobs and business opportunities for the area.”