Preparation works for the construction of the much-anticipated £74m Middlewich Eastern Bypass are continuing to progress well, according to Cheshire East Council.
A programme of preliminary works is being implemented during 2022. This has seen the recent completion of construction of a railway access point to the site, near Booth Lane and the British Salt site.
Ground investigations, vegetation clearing and archaeological surveys are now complete and ecology habitat creation starts this week. These latter works will include the creation of ponds, strengthening of hedgerows, creation of badger setts and landscaping.
Other environmental works, including earthworks and landscaping – to minimise the duration of subsequent highway construction – are in preparation.
It follows Cheshire East Council’s highways and transport committee decision, last December, to authorise all the necessary legal orders to enable delivery of the project.
The planned 2.6km, two-way single carriageway road will connect a new roundabout junction off Pochin Way in the north to a new roundabout junction to the south, connecting with the A533 Booth Lane. The scheme will include a new bridge over the Trent and Mersey Canal and a new bridge over the Sandbach-to-Northwich railway line.
The plans include a combined cycleway and footway, as part of the council’s continued commitment to encourage active travel and greener transport.
Formal construction work is scheduled to start in 2023, and take an estimated 28 months, subject to land agreements and funding approvals.
Councillor Craig Browne, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council and chair of its highways and transport committee, said: “It is good to see things progressing smoothly as this road scheme will be a tremendous asset and give a significant boost to Middlewich and the surrounding areas.
“The bypass is an important part of the council’s commitment to Middlewich and its residents and will deliver a greatly-improved highway network – addressing congestion, road safety and air quality concerns in the town centre. It will also improve journey times and support the delivery of key economic growth, employment and housing in the area.”
The outline business case has been approved by the Department for Transport (DfT). The scheme has been accepted on to the DfT’s ‘large local majors programme’.