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Investment in the North West road infrastructure is set to step up in 2018, with the progression of three major schemes across the region.
The upgrades are being funded by the Government’s £15Bn investment in motorways and main A roads and being delivered by Highways England.
The first investment is being realised through the plans to upgrade the vital Trans-Pennine route between Manchester and Sheffield. Members of the public have the opportunity to comment on detailed plans to upgrade the route, which represents a £242M investment. The project includes improvements to the A57 on the Greater Manchester side – featuring new dual and single carriageways between the M67 and Woolley Bridge. There are also other important improvements along the route with safety and technology improvements either side of Woodhead Pass and a major overhaul of Westwood roundabout in South Yorkshire where the A616 meets the A61.
Another two schemes in the North West will reach key milestones before June. Preliminary work on the M62 junction 10 to junction 12 smart motorway scheme will begin in March. This scheme which links the M6 near Warrington (junction 10) to the M60 near Eccles (junction 12) will add around ten additional lane miles to the network, increasing capacity, and introduce new technology to tackle congestion and keep drivers informed.
The public will also have the opportunity to find out more about the A585 Windy Harbour scheme near Poulton-le-Fylde in Lancashire. Consultation will take place in March on the proposed bypass of the existing A585 at Little Singleton, improving journey times and safety along this route.
Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan said: “The [Trans-Pennine] upgrade is further evidence of Highways England continuing to deliver the major infrastructure which benefits the North West. It’s important that we take all opinions into account so I urge anyone with an interest to make their views known.”
Across the UK, almost 40 projects will hit milestones over the same period, including seven schemes starting construction and four improvements opening to traffic, adding much needed extra capacity to some of the country’s busiest roads and improving journeys for millions of drivers. Others will hit crucial points – including public consultations that will help shape the proposals, and route announcements.
April will mark three years since Highways England embarked on delivering the Government’s Road Investment Strategy, the biggest investment in the country’s major roads since the 1970s.
The schemes reaching milestones in the first half of this year will join the 18 major projects that have already opened to traffic since April 2015. A further 17 are presently in construction. In the North West the new A556 Knutsford to Bowdon bypass opened in March 2017, linking the M56 and the M6. The old road – now the B5569 – has been handed over to Cheshire East Council and includes improved facilities for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.
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