Enhanced M56 junction put forward by HS2
Ahead of the proposed HS2 / Northern Powerhouse Rail station at Manchester Airport, a project developed with National Highways to improve Junction 6 has been revealed.
The proposals suggest relocating Junction 6 of the motorway to the south-west, with works sequenced within HS2’s construction programme.
It is intended that the revised plans would improve access to the new combined HS2 and NPR station for business and leisure travellers and could also help reduce congestion on what is a key piece of infrastructure, linking Wilmslow and Hale Barns to the motorway network.
The proposed change reflects the ongoing design and engagement work that HS2 Ltd undertakes during the hybrid Bill process.
The High Speed Rail (Crewe – Manchester) Bill was submitted to parliament in January 2022 and seeks the legislative powers to build and operate the northern extension of Britain’s new zero carbon railway, which is forecast to open between 2035 and 2040.
Initial concepts would see the M56 realigned to the south and Junction 6 converted to a roundabout junction, with the HS2 railway line running in a shallow tunnel underneath. Link roads would connect the new junction to the existing local road network.
The proposals would also see the existing roundabouts at Junction 6 converted to signal-controlled junctions, and a direct link provided to the combined HS2/NPR station with a flyover crossing Hale Road and running parallel to the M56.
To improve the local road network, the Runger Lane/Avro Way junction would also be upgraded to a signal-controlled operation.
Liz Garlinge, strategic customer projects director at National Highways, said: “National Highways welcomes these improved plans for M56 Junction 6. As well as providing access to the proposed HS2 NPR station, this integrated approach to planning will contribute to the future needs of the region and better journeys for all our customers.”
The public engagement process has already begun locally as HS2 looks to formally submit the project to government later this year. Interested parties can register online for a 2 March webinar and/or a 7 March face-to-face event at Delta by Marriott Manchester Airport Hotel.
Tim Smart, managing director of HS2’s phase two programme said: “The new combined HS2 and NPR station at Manchester Airport will deliver a major boost to the North West’s economy, and we believe there’s further potential for growth if additional capacity is created on the surrounding road networks.
“HS2’s arrival is already spearheading development plans for more new homes and premium commercial space in the area. This enhanced connectivity could bolster those plans, help to future proof the road network, and benefit local communities by reducing congestion.”