weaver bridge

The preferred option includes a lifting bridge. Credit: council documents

CWAC pushes on with £50m Northwich bridge plan

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s cabinet has signed off on designs for the Winnington corridor and bridge project, which makes up the bulk of its Levelling Up Fund bid.

Known within CWAC as the WBC project, the scheme has been developed to increase the resilience and reliability of the highway network, reduce traffic congestion and enhance connectivity in the Northwich area.

The recommended design option for the project has now been rubber-stamped following work done with Balfour Beatty, which was appointed under the SCAPE framework in August 2021 to advise on design development for the River Weaver crossing.

The recommended bridge option includes two key elements: the conversion of the existing grade two-listed single track Winnington Turn Bridge, purely for cyclists and pedestrians; and the creation of a new fixed road bridge across the Weaver and a lifting bridge across the Weaver Navigation, to be built to the west of the existing lifting bridge.

Although the final design is subject to further refinement, these aren’t expected to be major.

Cllr Karen Shore, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member – environment, highways & strategic transport said: “The Council has a clear and bold vision for the area with a preferred option on how to deliver this. We have made a comprehensive, value for money submission to bring forward this urgently needed scheme.

“We have a compelling case, and if our funding bid is successful, construction can start in Summer 2024. This would improve walking and cycling routes, tackle air quality issues and remove a significant and long-standing pinch point for public transport and motorists, making travel times by car or bus more reliable for residents.”

CWAC said that the WBC submission will fulfil a long-standing ambition to establish a route between Northwich town centre and Runcorn Road supporting multiple modes of transport.

Long lists of six options for the river crossing and 11 for the road corridor were initially considered. According to the report prepared for cabinet, the main advantage of the preferred option is that it is seen as less problematic, due to involving more off-line construction, thus having less of an impact on the A533 Runcorn Road/Winnington Lane.

The recommended option for the corridor part of the project is a package of junction improvements at Winnington Avenue, Moss Road and Castle Street.

Subject to confirmation of funding from a successful LUF bid, cabinet approval means the council’s director of transport and highways can start negotiations to buy the necessary land, including preparatory work for Compulsory Purchase Orders if necessary.

Balfour Beatty has been working with the council under an Early Contractor Involvement basis, to be reviewed on a regular basis as “hold points” are reached – the next of these is when project costs hit £700,000, expected to be November this year.

CWAC has now put together its outline business case for £60m in LUF support covering both the WBC scheme and its ambitions for low-carbon homes and a redeveloped market in a £13.4m Ellesmere Port programme. It is seeking £45.8m for the £51m Winnington scheme.

The council expects to hear from central government in late October whether or not it has been successful. The hoped-for completion date for the Winnington project is 2026.

Winnington Bridge artist impression closed

How the new lifting road bridge would look closed. Credit: CWAC

Your Comments

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I’m old enough to remember when we built beautiful bridges

By Anonymous

90% funded from the Levelling Up pot. Good luck with that one!

By Anonymous

We need this in place urgently.

By Margaret

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