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Proposals to refocus A500 scheme to be considered

31st March 2024 @ 6:06am – by CE
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26 March 2024
Proposals to refocus A500 scheme to be considered

Proposals to modify plans for the dualling of a section of the A500 will be considered next week, in response to the cancellation of HS2 north of Birmingham.


Cheshire East Council was granted planning permission in February last year to upgrade a section of the A500 from Meremoor Moss Roundabout to the roundabout at junction 16 of the M6.


The business case for the scheme was strongly linked to the Government's proposed investment in HS2 and the planned high-speed services arriving at Crewe Railway Station — with the project included in the Department for Transport's (DfT) Major Roads Network programme and provisionally allocated a grant of £55.1m.


HS2 had also agreed to pay towards the upgrade, as it would have helped to accommodate their construction traffic.


But following the cancellation of the northern sections of HS2 in October last year, the council's highways and transport committee will consider a report that recommends the development of an updated business case for the A500 scheme.


This will focus on improving access to Crewe Railway Station from the A500 while keeping the key aim of the original scheme, which was to address congestion by upgrading the Mere Moor Moss Roundabout and the approaches to it.


Following publication of the Government's 'Network North' plan, it is estimated that a revised A500 scheme could also remove the need for the council to contribute up to £34.4m towards the total cost of the scheme, which is included in its current medium-term financial strategy.


Councillor Mark Goldsmith, chair of Cheshire East Council's highways and transport committee, said: "The council remains committed to the A500 dualling, and the recommendations being put forward to committee mean that delivering the existing scheme would still be possible if more funding became available.


"But the Government's decision to cancel the northern sections of HS2 has hugely affected our ability to secure grant funding for its delivery.


"Recent discussions with the DfT have suggested that the council should prepare an updated business case for the A500 scheme, the development of which they are prepared to fully fund.


"It is thought that by refocusing our plans, we can maximise Government investment in Cheshire East in the absence of HS2 and deliver greater transport and regeneration benefits compared to the existing scheme — at less cost to the council."


If approved by committee, this would allow a modified scheme to remain on the Major Roads Network programme and progress towards full Government funding.


Cllr Goldsmith added: "Another advantage of refocusing our plans is that following the Network North announcement by Government, it is expected that this would ultimately result in a significant improvement to our current capital budget position, with additional Department for Transport funding."


The report to committee on 4 April, which can be found here https://moderngov.cheshireeast.gov.uk/ecminutes/ieListDocuments.aspx?MId=9855&x=1&, also includes recommendations to withdraw the compulsory purchase order and side roads order for the existing A500 scheme, pending the development of the new business case.

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