A556 Knutsford to Bowdon Environmental Improvement

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Scheme Outline

Scheme details

Bypass or realignment with some parts under motorway restrictions
£ 192m
Highways England
Region: North West
Central Government
8 km
5 miles

A new largely offline and grade separated dual carriageway linking M6 J19 and M56 J7. It would replace the current heavily congested and mostly four lane single carriageway A556.

The Highways Agency has confirmed that a 60mph speed limit will be applied to the new road in an attempt to minimise pollution generated by the increase in traffic. This limit is expected to be raised to National Speed Limit 2-5 years after the road is opened, as vehicle emissions drop.

M56 junction 7 is to be significantly remodelled, with free-flow access introduced between the motorway and the A556. Changes to M6 J19 are to be pursued in a later scheme.


18 January 2009 The preferred route was announced by the Highways Agency in December 2008.
23 March 2010 Details of the amended preferred route were released on 19 March 2010. Construction is now expected to start in 2013.
27 October 2010 Funding for this scheme was confirmed in a statement by the Transport Secretary yesterday.
17 January 2011 It was announced today that Costain has been appointed as contractor for this scheme. Construction is scheduled to start before 2015.
23 January 2012 A public consultation on the scheme starts today and runs until 16 April 2012.
10 October 2014 Development Consent was granted in August with a view to start construction in early 2015.
5 December 2014 Works have now started on site.
31 July 2015 Major earthworks at the M56 end of the scheme now look complete, with significant work underway at the M6 end as well. A 40mph limit now covers the existing A556 between the two motorways.
2 December 2015 Current works are mainly on the bridges for the new alignment, although major work is also in progress at M56 J8. The Westbound entry at J8 has been closed for several months until 14 December, but Highways England say it will now not need to close again in the Spring (the original plan called for Autumn and Spring slip-road closures, which have now been combined). A nearby minor road has also been shut for the duration of the works. The 40mph restriction still covers around 60% of the existing route.
8 September 2016 The Eastbound exit at M56 J7 has been closed for around a month while the main works are done to create a free-flow link for traffic heading from Manchester towards Knutsford. The Eastbound exit is expected to reopen by the end of 2016 using the new junction layout. Traffic is being diverted off at J9 via the A50 or advised to continue to J6 (Hale) and come back on the Westbound side, where the slip road is unaffected.
14 September 2016 Traffic coming off the M56 spur is now being directed around the new roundabout on the south side of the interchange, while works continue on the new flyover.
7 October 2016 A series of closures starting on Monday 10 October will affect the Knutsford end of the A556 ? between Mere crossroads and the M6 ? as well as the roundabout with the M6 at junction 19 which will be closed overnight for 4 weeks outside weekends.
23 December 2016 All the new slip roads are in use at the M56 junction. Unused old sections are being excavated.
8 March 2017 The new road has now opened to traffic.

More information

Official website
Highways England: A556 Knutsford to Bowdon Improvement

It's over!

This scheme has been completed, so it's no longer possible to edit any of the information on this page.

With thanks to Geoff Dobson, Janusz, David Peek, Richard Bullock, Paul Wharmby, Fraser Mitchell and Michael Pritchard for information on this page.

This scheme was last updated on 8 March 2017.