We have made good progress with construction works over the last year, despite very poor weather during November and December 2015, and we remain on track to open the road by late 2017.
The main focus of our work to date has been ecological mitigation to minimise the impact of the construction of the scheme on wildlife in the area. The mitigation works include the creation of replacement habitat including new great crested newt ponds and habitat, bat boxes and replacement badger setts. We have trapped and moved the majority of the great crested newts and closed badger setts within our working area. Vegetation clearance is now almost complete, including the careful removal of trees which had potential for bat roosts.
During the last 3 months we have begun piling work for some of the new bridges. Access points onto the scheme and haul routes along the scheme have also been created. A number of utility diversions (e.g. gas, electric, water) have been completed.
We have also been supporting the local community through a number of initiatives. In particular, we have:
- Visited local schools to highlight the importance of site safety and also encourage careers in the construction and engineering industry;
- Participated in fund raising for the Seashell Trust and will be undertaking some mini projects for them over the next year;
- Delivered 1000 tonnes of topsoil to the Woodbank Park Community Allotment Project; and
Over the coming months, construction activity will be increasing including:
- Construction of major bridges at A6 Buxton Road, Buxton Line Railway Bridge and Styal Road Rail Bridge. In particular, over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, the Hazel Grove rail line from Hazel Grove to Buxton will be closed while we slide into place the new bridge that will take the rail line over the new road. Services will continue using a rail replacement bus service;
- Utility diversions will be progressing at most of the side roads affected by the scheme and these will require local traffic management, for example temporary traffic lights; and
- Construction of temporary road diversions at Woodford Road (Poynton) and the A555-Woodford Road (Bramhall) junction that will allow us to keep these routes open whilst we construct the major bridges at these locations.
We are working hard to minimise disruption during our works. Traffic management is carefully coordinated with the three local highway authorities (Stockport, Cheshire East and Manchester City councils) and the utility companies. Every effort is made to minimise delays whilst still allowing the construction of the scheme to progress.