VIP seal of approval for £43 million M6 junction improvements

National Highways’ innovative £43 million project to tackle congestion at one of the busiest motorway junctions in the North West is now fully up and running – with a VIP welcome.

The newly-transformed M6 Junction 19 at Knutsford opened on Saturday (20 November) and after a week of systems testing is now fully-operational. Lead contractor AmeySRM delivered the 20-month project for National Highways as part of the Government’s road investment strategy.

Roads Minister Baroness Vere said:

I’m delighted to see these vital improvements to the M6 completed, which will not only boost connectivity for communities in Cheshire and beyond, but also improve journey times and safety at the junction. “This is a major investment from our roads programme and it’s so rewarding to see these projects materialise as we continue to level up the whole of the UK.

Earlier today (Friday 26 November) Tatton MP Esther McVey, senior regional officials from National Highways and Councillor Craig Browne, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council and chair of its highways and transport committee, saw the improvement for themselves.

The new junction arrangements include a brand new ‘through-about’ bridge through the junction roundabout and over the motorway – one of the first of its kind in the country.

After visiting the site today Ms McVey said:

I was pleased to be able to see the work that has been going on at Junction 19 and am equally pleased that we are seeing Government investment in Tatton. I am hopeful this will make a significant improvement to the experience of travellers in the area.

Ms McVey pictured at the new 'through-about' bridge at M6 Junction 19
Ms McVey pictured at the new ‘through-about’ bridge at M6 Junction 19 earlier today

The new bridge provides a direct link between the southbound M6 and Cheshire East Council’s section of the A556 running south of the junction roundabout at Tabley Hill where National Highways has also delivered a major improvement to the Pickmere Lane and Tabley Hill Lane staggered junction. The roundabout has also been tweaked with better access and safety for cyclists and pedestrians using and travelling between the A556 and B5569 local roads.

Councillor Browne said:

This is excellent news for road users in Cheshire East as it will improve journey times, boost connectivity and decrease congestion around this key junction for our road network. It is also good to see the improved access and safety for cyclists and pedestrians at the roundabout.

The whole project team are to be congratulated on delivering this important and complex scheme under the twin pressures of poor weather and Covid working restrictions, while keeping travel disruption to a minimum.

Aerial view of the M6 Junction 19 roundabout
The project has included junction improvements along Cheshire East Council’s section of the A556 south of the M6 Junction 19 roundaout as well as improved connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists between here and the B5569 on the far side of the busy junctuon.

Stewart Jones, North West delivery director for National Highways’ regional investment programme, said:

This is a vital investment in the important Midlands to Manchester and Manchester Airport corridor. The new junction arrangements will help to provide a vastly-improved link to our motorway upgrades along the M6 and M56 as well as the new Knutsford to Bowdon bypass.

We were delighted to show Ms McVey around the site today a week after the scheme was completed and opened to traffic. While we’ve worked hard to deliver this complex construction project without causing too much disruption to people’s motorway journeys and local people’s lives we would like to thank everyone for their patience over the last 20 months.

Pat Cumming, senior project manager for AmeySRM, lead contractor for the project, said:

This is a very proud moment for the whole project team. Today we celebrate the successful completion of a significant improvement scheme for the region.

The work that we’ve done over the last 20 months will provide long-lasting benefits for the local community, as well as the tens of thousands of people who pass through the junction each day. We’ve already received messages of thanks from motorists and residents who are using the junction and enjoying the improved connections it offers.

National Highways project manager Khalid El-Rayes and AmeySRM senior project manager Pat Cumming
The whole project was delivered during the pandemic and National Highways project manager Khalid El-Rayes (left) and AmeySRM senior project manager Pat Cumming are pictured with a fist-bump celebration on the northbound carriageway of the new bridge just hours before it opened to traffic on Saturday of last week.

The new bridge over the motorway also provides a direct link between the northbound M6 and A556 Knutsford to Bowdon bypass reducing the number of vehicles using the roundabout itself, cutting congestion and improving traffic flow and safety.

Construction of the new bridge and the other junction improvements started in March last year. Planning and continuing work around the Covid-19 pandemic, severe weather and a world-wide shortage of micro-chips were just some of the challenges faced by the construction teams over the last 20 months.

A new ‘drive-through’ video has been produced to show how the new motorway-to-A556 links work.

Aerial shot showing drivers using the bridge and new roundabout arrangements
Day and night aerial images show drivers using the bridge and new roundabout arrangements

Aerial shot showing drivers using the bridge and new roundabout arrangements at night

Pictures from the construction feature in a new ‘Connecting the country’ video National Highways has produced to showcase the importance of the 530 miles of major A roads and motorways in the North West – and how National Highways is investing in improvements.

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