Works are progressing across the A6 to Manchester Airport Relief Road (A6MARR) and in a number of areas are now substantially complete, including Clay Lane junction, the Woodford Road, Poynton bridge and the realigned A6. Surfacing works are also now well under way on parts of the Relief Road. We appreciate that activities are not always visible across the site but this can be due to various reasons including works being carried out at night and therefore not being apparent to commuter traffic and the requirement to coordinate works with third parties, including utilities companies.
The A6MARR Project Team regrets any disturbance caused during the works and is working hard, alongside the local highway authorities, Stockport, Cheshire East and Manchester City councils, to keep disruption to a minimum. To ensure this monthly Traffic Management meetings are held to coordinate the A6MARR works around other works taking place in the local area with the contractor Carillion Morgan Sindall (CMS), the three local highway authorities and representatives of Cheshire Constabulary and Greater Manchester Police all attending and traffic management is only implemented once approved by the relevant local highway authority.
Night working is carried out where feasible but consideration also has to be given to adjacent local residents who may be disturbed by the works and the safety of operatives working outside of daylight hours. Site hours were extended over the summer months in 2016 and 2017 to make the most of longer day light hours.
We are working hard to minimise disruption as much as possible for all, whilst still allowing the works to progress safely and efficiently. Examples of where we have done this are:
- A6, Hazel Grove: The realigned A6 has been open to traffic since April 2017 and the north and south tie-in junctions with the existing Buxton Road are now complete. Much of the work on the A6 that has necessitated the use of temporary traffic lights has been carried out at night. Where possible, narrow lanes were also used to create working room with the need for the use of temporary traffic lights.
- Macclesfield Road: traffic has now been transferred to the new carriageway to allow two-way traffic to be maintained on Macclesfield Road as much as possible while the new junction is under construction. Night working and narrow lanes have also been utilised at this location.
- Woodford Road, Poynton: A temporary road was constructed to maintain two-way traffic flow on the route during majority of the construction works at this location. The closure of the road, required for the completion of the installation of the new bridge, was programmed to take place over the summer holidays when the roads are quieter and to minimise the impact on the school bus service that uses the route.
- Woodford Road, Bramhall: A temporary roundabout was constructed to maintain traffic flow on this route during the construction of the bridge over the Relief Road. Following the transfer of traffic to the new bridge, work has been carried out over night or on a Sunday to avoid affecting traffic during the busiest times. Temporary traffic signals are currently in operation at the junction which run on fixed timings and can only accommodate simple phasing sequences. Improvements to the operation of the junction are therefore expected once the permanent traffic lights are in place (expected to be in early 2018) – with attendant changes to the timing and phasing of the signals – and the forecast changes to traffic flows once the relief road opens are realised.
- A34: The A34 is an extremely busy route and was so prior to the start of works on the A6MARR. Consequently, narrow lanes were installed from the outset of the works to minimise the need for lane closures. Therefore, whilst traffic management is in place on the A34, there has been minimal impact on traffic capacity on the route during the peak hours. Lane closures are required at times during the works for the safety of the travelling public and site operatives, however, these are only implemented during the off peak hours (0900 – 1530). Consideration must also be given to the safety of traffic management operatives when installing and removing the lane closures on a busy, live highway. Therefore, lane closures may remain in place if at times there is a temporary break in activities on site.
CMS has also carried out temporary works to minimise the need for lane closures on the A34. For example, the central reservation on the A34, north of the A555 roundabout, was modified and traffic lanes realigned to create additional working room.
- Stanley Road: Currently, the only traffic management restricting traffic flow on this route is the closure of the lane turn lane on the westbound approach to the A34. This is programmed to reopen in January 2018. Again, temporary works have been carried out to minimise the traffic impact on this route. For example, when Stanley Road operated as a one-way system in autumn this year, a temporary exit was opened up on the A34 from Handforth Dean retail centre to relieve traffic pressure on Stanley Road.
- Wilmslow Road: Works at the Clay Lane junction are now complete and the junction is open to traffic. Night works were carried out at this location to avoid affecting traffic flows where feasible.
- Styal Road: Traffic management on this route is carefully coordinated with Manchester Airport and Manchester City Council and was kept to a minimum over the summer months, the busiest time for the airport. We have also sought to coordinate works at this location around other works in the area. For example, temporary traffic lights were put in place for A6MARR works during the closure of Styal Road that was in place for separate Electricity North West Limited works as the closure of Styal Road reduced traffic flows along the route. Narrow lanes are also in place at this location.
We will continue to ensure that the local community is kept updated about the works as they progress. In particular:
- Weekly traffic management updates can be found online at www.semmms.info/traffic
- Information about forthcoming works across the scheme over a three month period can be found at www.semmms.info/worksupdate