Construction of a new dual carriageway bypass from the eastern end of the M56 Manchester Airport Spur to the A6 at Hazel Grove, incorporating the existing short section of A555 between Handforth and Woodford. This is a scaled-down version of a route first outlined in 1962 and progressed in the 1970s as a motorway, intended to form part of the Manchester Outer Ring Road. It was resurrected in the early 2000s as a result of the "SEMMMS" multi-modal study.
In June 2007, the Government declined to fund the road and its construction in its present form looked unlikely. However, it has appeared in various guises since 1962, so it was never likely that the withdrawal of funding would end all hopes for the new road. In November 2008, the Treasury announced a number of new measures to stimulate the economy during the financial crisis with new capital spending projects, as part of which money was provided for the A555.
The November 2008 funding package enables the construction of the road between the Airport Spur and the A6 at Hazel Grove, but does not include a further section of road that would connect the A6 at Hazel Grove to the M60 at junction 25, nor does it include a bypass for Poynton. The A523 Poynton Bypass is now being progressed as a separate local authority scheme.
The Transport Secretary has announced that the scheme would be fast tracked by government and that Â£165m had been allocated.
Revised route announced.
The scheme now has full funding from the A6 Hazel Grove to Manchester Airport.
Work is now starting at the Manchester Airport end of the new road.
No sign of work having started, but ecological surveys are apparently ongoing.
The Chancellor (and local MP) George Osborne listed the project as one to benefit from funding in the National Infrastructure Plan. At present, the only building work happening along the route is construction of the Metrolink Airport line.
According to the Manchester Evening News, local councils are to request that the DfT names the new road, the Queen Elizabeth II Way in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. No details were given about a construction timetable though.
Further public consultation in 2012/13 and a planning application for the scheme. There will also need to be a public enquiry before the scheme can be fully approved and contractors appointed. It is not expected that construction work will commence until at least 2014 with an estimated opening in 2017.
Andrew Stunell MP has confirmed that construction work will start during February 2015.
Signs are up at various points along the route saying that work begins in February 2015.
Tree and hedge clearance has begun in various places, including along the existing A555.
The A34 is being shut completely overnight on the approaches to the A555 junction. This appears to be for lane narrowing, applying speed restrictions and providing works access. The interchange and adjacent junction with the B5094 are to be upgraded as part of the A555 extension project.
Cheshire East Council is carrying out a consultation on designs for the Poynton Bypass.
The site activity maps have been updated on the official website.
At the western end, earthworks are almost complete.
The new route of the A6 at the eastern end of the scheme is taking shape, with most of the kerbstones in place.
The new A6 route has been fully surfaced with tarmac, however tieing into the existing road has not started.
Street lighting has been installed at the eastern end of the bypass on the new section of the A6.
Delays have been announced, with the new road's opening date pushed back to 2018.
The new route for the A6 is in use.
Major change at the Bramhall end of the existing A555. The old terminal roundabout is gone, and new slip roads are in use.
Most junctions now have new direction signs with copious amounts of grey paint covering future destinations.
Woodford Road is now reopened with a new bridge over the A555 route. All the junctions are now having kerbstones laid and some extensive areas of new tarmac are in place.
The opening date has slipped further to late Summer 2018, having been put back to Spring 2018 as announced last April. The additional delay is being blamed on difficult ground conditions combined with poor weather. A section of the original 1995-built road westbound from the A34 junction has been affected by subsidence; it was closed for 17-weeks from 12 February to repair drainage and stabilise the road.
Westbound from the A34 has reopened fully resurfaced and lined out for its future as part of the through route, a lot of cones keep you in one lane only. Eastbound is now shut for 6 weeks presumably for its resurfacing to be completed. Various new bits of tarmac are in use around junctions as work moves from widening and realigning to rebuilding the central reservations.
Westbound traffic is now using one lane of the new route from Styal Road to Ringway West (ie towards the airport).
Eastbound traffic from the airport is now also running on the new alignment as far as Styal Rd junction.
It's been confirmed that the new road will open in October. Stockport Borough Council has announced a day of community events on Sunday 7 October.
An official opening date of October 15th has been announced.
All new sections are now open, albeit with a temporary 50 mph limit on the original section adjacent to the A34. Widening and junction modification work on the A34 is continuing.
All road surfacing and markings appear to be complete on the A34 junction. Lots of cones remain as traffic lights are installed on both the junction roundabout and the B5094 roundabout just to the north.
- SEMMMS: South East Manchester Multi Modal Strategy
- Manchester Evening News: Government's green light for A6 link to Manchester Airport
- Manchester Evening News: Work finally starts in Stockport on the A6 to Manchester Airport Relief Road
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With thanks to Edward, Samuel Berndt, Mike Hindson-Evans, Mr SJ Shacklock, Steve Nicklin, Geoff Dobson, Fraser Mitchell, Michael Pritchard, Keith, Andy Hellawell, Hunphrey and KD for information on this page.