A Dualling, Cheshire East Council, c Google Earth

The stretch of the A500 that would be widened extends two miles. Credit: Google Earth

Cheshire East to redraft A500 dualling project thanks to HS2 pull-out

Just when the £89.5m scheme to widen the road between Meremoor Moss roundabout and the M6’s Junction 16 looked ready to get going, the council has had to take it back to the drawing board.

Cheshire East Council voted last week to update its outline business case for the A500 dualling scheme – a two-mile project that already had planning permission secured and compulsory purchase orders in the works. That original business case was submitted to DfT in 2020.

The initial project relied on financial support from HS2 promoters and cited the scheme’s potential to mitigate HS2 construction traffic as one of its justifications.

The cancelling of the northern leg of HS2 by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, however, has necessitated the rethink.

Council officers noted that if the local authority pursued the current plans it would be unlikely to secure full business case approval from the Department for Transport. This would mean that money spent by the council to get the project to that point would have been wasted – this includes the £11m that has already been spent. The £55.1m grant from the DfT for the scheme would also vanish.

Without HS2, the project would also require the council to commit £27m to get the scheme off the ground.

Crafting an updated business case is expected to cost £2.4m, which will be supplied by the DfT.

After talks with the DfT, the council estimates that the updated scheme would cost £91.9m but would be capable of securing £82.1m from the department – as well as the £2.4m mentioned before to change the business case.

Under this arrangement, all £7.1m required from local contributions could be met through S106 funds. You can see the maths on pages 11 and 12 of this council report.

However, the update will delay the project by two years – pushing back its estimated work start date from 2025 to 2027.

The updated outline business case will be subject to council approval prior to being submitted to DfT.

Your Comments

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So just the £46m per mile?! is it any wonder nothing gets built?!

By Confused

£11m already spent, another £2.4m to go, nothing built and now only £46m per mile. In for a penny….

By Humphrey Appleby

Will the reworked budget and business case take into account the massive deficits which the Labour controlled council has achieved since 2019? And will it allow for infkation within construction industry of 4.7%, which is above the RPI rate?

By TEA Party UK

Just wish they would litter pick this road and junction 16. Must be dirtiest roads in UK.

By Anonymous

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