We successfully opened the road to traffic at 3:30am on Monday 6 March. A Part 1 Claims notice has now been published.
Check our roadworks tab for latest closure dates.
Although the new road is open, we still have work to do. We now look ahead to de-trunking works on the old A556 (B5569).
|August 2014||Secretary of State granted development consent|
|November 2014||Work started on site|
|28 and 29 November 2014||Public Information Event at the Curzon Cinema, Knutsford|
|November 2014||Construction begins|
|December 2014||Enabling work and environmental mitigation work|
|Spring 2015||Utility diversion works commence|
|Spring 2015||Work on bridges starts|
|Spring 2015||Earthworks begin|
|Winter 2015/6||Side road works start|
|November 2015||Public information event and open day at site compound|
|Spring 2016||Pavement works commence|
|Early 2017||Finishing works|
|Early 2017||New road open to traffic|
|Autumn/Winter 2017||Detrunking works|
|End March 2017||Completion|
Why we need this scheme
The A556 carries approximately 51,500 vehicles daily, around 11% of which are lorries. The section of the A556 between the M56 junction 7 and the M6 junction 19 is 4 miles (6.5km) long and is currently mainly a single 4 lane carriageway, with sections of dual 2 lane carriageway.
Numerous properties and field entrances have direct access onto the A556. As well as the 2 motorway junctions, there are also 2 other major junctions that connect local roads to the A556. These are the Bucklow Hill junction, and Mere junction. Both junctions are controlled by traffic lights and have restricted turning movements.
All of this means traffic is often severely congested at junctions along the A556, particularly at peak times, during roadworks and following incidents such as collisions.
Most seriously, there were 98 personal injury accidents on the A556 (including relevant parts of its junctions with the M6, A50, A5034 and M56) in the period January 2007 to December 2011, including 1 fatality and 13 serious injuries.
The objectives for the scheme are to:
- improve road safety and journey time reliability
- improve the local environment in Bucklow Hill and Mere
- reduce conflicts between long distance and local traffic
- minimise the environmental impacts of the scheme, during construction and once open to traffic
The scheme in detail
The A556 is a major trunk road between north Cheshire and south Manchester. The section that we are improving is between the M6 junction 19 near Tabley/Knutsford and the M56 junction 7 near Bowdon. To the northern end of the A556 are the communities of Altrincham, Bowdon and Hale.
To the west of the existing road, a new dual carriageway will bypass the communites of Tabley, Mere and Bucklow Hill before rejoining the existing route of the A556 at a point near to Bucklow Manor. We are also making improvements to junction 7 of the M56.
We’ll be planting trees and shrubs and carrying out landscape works to screen the road and help it sit less intrusively within the local landscape.
We will be creating replacement habitats for any species that may be disturbed by the works. We will provide safe crossings to compensate if the new road cuts through habitats. This will include the creation of our first “Green Bridge” – a safe crossing for wildlife and for agricultural access.
We will regulate and control emissions during construction to make sure they are not significant. On opening, the road will operate at 60mph to help counter any air quality impact from traffic. We’ll continue to monitor conditions and, as soon as air quality concentrations, allow we will increase the speed limit to 70mph.
Cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians
The de-trunked Chester Road will be reduced to a single carriageway after the opening of the new route.
The existing southbound carriageway will become two lanes, one in each direction and the existing northbound lanes will be used to provide a shared pathway for pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians.
We will replace the redundant outside lane with a mounded grass bund. The existing A556 will be renamed and reclassified to discourage its use by non-local traffic.
We’ve carried out preliminary archaeological trial trenches so that we can record archaeological remains. We’ll also carry out recording works on historic buildings and landscapes in their current setting.
Project media files
Roadworks and Events for England
The latest incident information for England's motorway and trunk routes provided by Highways England
Breaking News: Traffic Information
The latest current breaking news items for England's motorway network