Highways England A556 Knutsford to Bowdon Improvement Scheme

Constructing Excellence

The A556 Knutsford to Bowdon improvement scheme involves constructing a new 7.5km dual carriageway that connects the M6 J19 in Tabley with the M56 J7 at Bowdon.

The existing mixture of dual carriageway and single carriageway/four lane highway has been replaced with a dual two-lane carriageway with improvements to J7 of the M56.

The scheme delivers many benefits: improving strategic links between Manchester and Birmingham and providing a safer, more reliable local road network.

The scheme first appeared on the Major Trunk Road programme thirty years ago. Prior to construction starting in 2014, the project overcame numerous challenges to get approved and into the construction phase.

It’s been recognised as the first Highways England project to successfully apply for Development Consent Order as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) undergoing a public inquiry and extensive public consultation. This resulted in achieving planning permission with no legal appeals made.

There have been many challenges faced during construction. Landowner issues affected the programme; however the team worked collaboratively to ensure that the road opened ahead of schedule and within budget.

The A556 is a strategically important route, connecting the M6 with
the M56. Numerous stakeholders, such as Manchester Airport and
Manchester United are affected by the scheme.

Co-ordinating traffic management has been a major challenge. Prior
to the road opening, there was a requirement for three full weekend
closures of the A556 to facilitate tie in works. This was carried out in
collaboration with the client and stakeholders to ensure all were
informed and involved with communicating the closure information.