Start date set for £55m A500 upgrade

Cheshire East is aiming to have funding in place for its £55m upgrade of the A500 by the end of the year after it submitted a business case to the Department for Transport earlier this week, with the council aiming to start the project by spring 2020.

The road between Nantwich and Stoke to the south of Crewe, and provides the main route between Crewe and Junction 16 of the M6.

As part of the town’s preparations for the arrival of HS2, Cheshire East has pushed forward with the dualling of the road which will act as a key link between the motorway network and Crewe’s proposed new HS2 hub station and associated development.

Widening of the road will cover a stretch between Junction 16 of the M6 and the junction with the A531 at Meremoor Moss Roundabout, which is currently single carriageway, to alleviate congestion around Crewe.

An outline business case has now been prepared and submitted to the DfT, with the majority of the land required to bring forward the scheme currently in Crown ownership.

This land cannot be subject to compulsory purchase orders due to its Crown ownership status, and will have to be acquired by agreement. The remainder of the land is likely to be bought via a CPO, which is expected to start in February 2019, subject to planning approval and funding confirmation.

Overall, Cheshire East will need to acquire around 60 acres to deliver the project.

The council said it was aiming to have a funding decision from the DfT by the end of the year, but this could be pushed back to March 2019.

The council’s cabinet has been asked to approve an additional £400,000 to support the road’s project team, and to procure a design-and-build contractor for the scheme, to keep the project going whilst awaiting a funding decision.

The submission of the business case represents the next step of the process which has been ongoing since 2014 when a study into the project was undertaken. The council signed off its preferred option for the road in 2017, and held a public consultation on the project later that year.

A planning application is expected to be determined in November this year, and subject to funding, construction is expected to begin in spring 2020. The road will be opened by the end of 2021.

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