As the planned opening of the borough’s largest major infrastructure project to date moves closer, council leaders have been given a further glimpse of how it is taking shape.
Congleton Link Road will relieve the Cheshire East town of some of its historical traffic problems, create road space for cyclists and pedestrians and improve air quality for residents, while opening up new development opportunities for employment and housing.
Despite the pandemic, contractors Graham have made substantial progress and have managed to minimise the slippage on the planned completion date.
Councillor Craig Browne, Cheshire East Council deputy leader with responsibility for infrastructure, was joined by the mayor of Congleton, Councillor Sally Ann Holland, for a tour of the construction project.
They were able to see that more than 2km of road is already under tarmac with the remainder of the works moving full steam ahead.
Cllr Browne said: “I am delighted to see this scheme progressing so well, particularly in light of the pandemic, which has meant that the contractors have had to take special measures to protect staff and construction workers.
“Despite this, we appear to be on track for an official opening in the new year – hopefully late January. The progress made since my last visit is astonishing.
“I want to thank Congleton Town Council and our local communities for all the support they have given to this very important infrastructure project. Also, the contractors, Graham, for ensuring that work could continue in a safe manner.”
The £90m, 5.5km highway joins the A534 Sandbach Road to the west and the A536 Macclesfield Road to the north, opening up connectivity and improving travel between Macclesfield, Congleton and the M6.
It will release 20 hectares of new employment land with the potential to create 3,000 jobs by 2035 and provide development sites for around 2,400 new homes.
Cllr Holland said: “The town council has been a big supporter of this project for many years and to see this road under construction is an uplifting experience, knowing what it means to the people of Congleton.
“I look forward to the opening event next year and join Cllr Browne in thanking the contractors and the community for helping to make this happen.”
Alastair Lewis, contracts manager for Graham, said: “It was great to be able to welcome the mayor of Congleton and Cllr Browne to the link road site and to show them the progress we are making on the scheme.
“Despite the impact of the pandemic, we have thankfully been able to continue our works in a safe manner while following government and public health guidelines and we are aiming to deliver the link road as close to the original schedule as possible.”
Cheshire East Council is contributing £24m towards the scheme with central government and developer contributions meeting the balance.