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Transport for the North (TfN) has welcomed the announcement last week of government funding to improve local roads in the North of England. The Government has confirmed the 33 improvement schemes across the North which will get a share of the £100 million funding for local roads announced at last month’s Conservative party conference. Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, has also pledged £46.8 million towards the Middlewich Eastern Bypass scheme in Cheshire East.
The Middlewich Bypass, which is being developed by Cheshire East council (one of Transport for the North’s nineteen constituent authorities) and has strong support from local residents, will reroute traffic around Middlewich’s crowded town centre. As well as cutting congestion, this scheme will open up the opportunity for 6,500 jobs and nearly 2,000 homes.
The scheme is an important link in TfN’s West & Wales strategic development corridor, one of seven transport corridors across the North which have been identified as vital for boosting economic growth. The West and Wales corridors will strengthen transport links between Liverpool, Manchester, Cheshire and North Wales.
The Bypass also helps to add road capacity in preparation for the arrival of HS2 at Crewe and improves access for the possible future re-opening of Middlewich station.
Councillor Rachel Bailey, Cheshire East Council leader, said: “This announcement is excellent news for the residents of Middlewich, who have been waiting for more than 20 years for a bypass, which will relieve traffic congestion and open up major development opportunities in the town. The council is now in a position to proceed with a project that is a critical part of an overall transport plan for Middlewich and which we anticipate will be completed by spring 2021.”
A Transport for the North spokesperson said, “Our Partners at Cheshire East Council and Cheshire & Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership have done a great job in preparing a robust business case for this vital scheme, which will both improve life for local residents and add reliability and resilience for journeys across the southern part of our region, enabling economic growth. I’m also glad to see commitment to thirty-three other smaller schemes across the North, which will improve journeys for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians in local areas.”
“We will soon be publishing our Strategic Transport Plan for the North, which will identify the priority corridors for transport investment across our region that will drive economic growth. We look forward to working closely with our Partners and with Government to plan and deliver the infrastructure investment which will transform the North.”