In November 2014 work began on a £200m project to improve the A556 between the M56 and M6. The project involves constructing a new 7.5km 4 lane dual carriageway between the two motorways in order to relieve congestion on this stretch of the road.
The A556 is a major trunk road which serves north Cheshire and south Manchester. The section of road also provides a connection between the M6 at junction 19 and M56 at junction 7.
The A556 between junction 19 of the M6 and junction 7 of the M56 currently carries 51,000 vehicles per day, 11% of which are HQVs. The road is currently a mixture of single 4-lane carriageway, with sections of dual 2-lane carriageway, along which are several junctions and a number of properties.
As a result of this the road is often severely congested, particularly at peak times. And according to the Highways Agency there were 98 incidents along this stretch, including 1 fatality and 13 serious injuries in the period January 2007 to December 2011.
The project will also involve reconfiguring the junction at Bowdon in order to create a grade separated overpass. The new junction will improve the link between the M56 junction 7, A556 and the turn off for Altrincham.
The original A556 route will be "de-trunked" reducing it to a single carriageway after the new section of road is complete. The existing southbound carriageway will become two lanes and the northbound carriageway will be used to provide a pathway for pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians.
Facts and figures
- 51,000 vehicles per day currently use the A556
- Cost of the project is estimated at £165m to £221m
- A new 7.5km grade separated dual carriageway will be constructed
- 130,000 tonnes of tarmac will be layed
- 300 people employed on site
- 5 new overpasses will be constructed
- The project will take approximately 2 years to complete
- The main contractor for the project is Costain
For more information visit the Highways Agency website
Map of the new A566 by-pass (click to enlarge)
The images below were taken from the site at Bowdon, where work has begun to build a new junction.