MOTORISTS in Warrington will have two reasons to celebrate this week, with the completion of one major highways improvement scheme, and the start of another.
The £11.69m M62 junction 8 scheme – which will help ease traffic problems for thousands of motorists – has been completed.
Work has also officially commenced on the £10.8m Warrington East Phase 2 project, which will reduce congestion and improve road safety along the Birchwood Way corridor.
Borough council lead member for transport, Cllr Hans Mundry said: “As businesses and more jobs come to the borough we have to make sure that we put in place infrastructure which will allow us to continue to thrive.
“The work we have done with the Local Enterprise Partnership and Highways England will make it easier for commuters to get on and off the M62 in a part of Warrington that has recently seen huge growth.
“We are also continuing to improve the roads for the residents of Birchwood. As the town becomes a major hub for businesses it’s vital that we make sure local people can easily get to and from home.”
The M62, junction 8 is one of the most important and heavily-used access points into west Warrington, and the key junction for the Omega, Gemini and Lingley Mere developments. The junction improvement scheme will make joining and leaving the motorway faster and easier, reducing congestion and increasing the junction’s capacity to support future jobs and housing growth.
Developed and funded in partnership with Highways England and the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, the improvements include diversion of Charon Way on to a new signal control junction, carriageway widening to all of the approach arms, works to widen the slip roads and new and upgraded toucan crossing facilities.
Ian Parsons, Highways England’s growth and economic development team leader, said: “I am absolutely delighted to see these vital junction improvements completed in true partnership with local people through Warrington Borough Council and the local enterprise partnership.
“Our £3 million contribution to this project came from our dedicated £100 million national fund to support growth and housing. Everyone who has witnessed the recent investment in the area will appreciate the importance of improving access to the M62 at junction 8 – both in terms of securing existing employment and unlocking even more opportunities for homes and jobs.”
The Warrington East phase 2 project – which follows the success of the Birchwood Pinchpoint (phase 1) – aims to improve traffic flow in east Warrington, focusing on improvements at the key junctions of Blackbrook Avenue roundabout, College Place roundabout and Oakwood Gate roundabout.
Scheduled to complete in December next year, the project will also provide better pedestrian and cycling facilities; and improve network reliability, supporting the Birchwood Enterprise Zone and Birchwood Park, and improving access to employment and commercial sites.
The Cheshire and Warrington LEP contributed £5m through the Local Growth Fund to the M62 junction 8 project. The Warrington East Phase 2 works are being funded by a combination of council borrowing and a contribution of £6.9m from the LEP through the Local Growth Fund and £2m from the Cheshire Science Corridor Enterprise Zone.
Pete Waterman, chairman of the Cheshire and Warrington LEP’s Transport Body, said: “These highway improvements are very important to the economic development of the region enabling businesses to reach markets and access skills and talent, while allowing our residents to reach jobs, education, shops and services. They form part of a package of £170m of transport projects that we are supporting with £58m of grant funding across Cheshire and Warrington over the next three years.
“These schemes will help support development, most notably at Omega which has created more than 5000 jobs and brought more than £155m of private sector investment to date. ”
Balfour Beatty are delivering these works on both projects through the Scape Civil Engineering and Infrastructure Framework.
The council is working hard to keep disruption caused by the new scheme to a minimum – but apologise in advance for any delays.
Pictured below: Ready to start work on the Birchwood Way improvement