A health worker doing 12-hour shifts says the Crewe roadworks add an extra one hour to her journey to Leighton Hospital every day – when using the official diversion route.
The woman, who asked not to be named, says she is currently using the gridlocked Minshull New Road rat-run to save time and fuel.
“When that shuts, God knows what will happen,” she said.
“Not only will it take longer but it will also use more petrol, that we are struggling to find money to pay for as it is.”
The woman said those responsible for the Middlewich Road closure and diversion route had given no thought to ‘the hard working people whose regular low paid jobs probably are keeping one or more of their family members alive’.
“I did a trial run going up the A500 [part of the official diversion route] a few weeks back, it took me 30 minutes more to do a 10-minute journey,” she said.
Middlewich Road is closed at Leighton to enable the construction of the North West Crewe Package (NWCP).
Cheshire East Council says the NWCP will ease congestion, improve access to Leighton Hospital and bring opportunities for housing developments and for local businesses to expand.
This week three Cheshire East councillors, unhappy at getting no answers to questions they asked about the road closure at a recent committee meeting, drove the official diversion route to Leighton Hospital from south of the roadworks.
Councillors Rachel Bailey (Audlem, Con), Margaret Simon (Wistaston, Con) and Patrick Redstone (Odd Rode, Con) set off from Sainsbury’s in Nantwich after the rush hour.
The diversion took them along the Nantwich Bypass, Shavington Bypass, University Way, Sydney Road, Bradfield Road and on to Flowers Lane – an extra 10.6 miles and an extra 25 minutes, one way.
Cllr Bailey told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “There’s no understanding as to what it really means for resident road users or visitors.”
She said as well as the environmental impact – an extra 10.6 miles (21 round trip) for some workers, hospital visitors, and those travelling between Middlewich and Crewe – there’s the financial cost and the mental health impact.
“It’s a burden, because it’s – how do I get to Leighton Hospital?” said the former council leader.
“That diversion just doesn’t make sense. If you are rushing to Leighton Hospital with a sick child, it assumes that everybody knows what the diversion is.
“The signage is so poor. It assumes that the detail on the website is accessible and clear and it isn’t. It is another desktop exercise that doesn’t understand Cheshire East.
“That, in turn, is impacting on the rat-runs that people know of and the residents there. It’s just not well thought out. Who made the decision?”
Cheshire East says although the roadworks on the A530 Middlewich Road will last 80 weeks, the road will not be fully closed for 80 weeks.
It says between now and March 2023 various full and partial closures will be required between junctions at Pyms Lane and Flowers Lane.
“The first of these closures – a full closure between junctions at Pyms Lane and Smithy Lane – is now in place until the end of October, with access maintained to the local businesses and residents,” said a council spokesperson.
“The emergency services were consulted as part of the closures planned for the works and a blue light route is agreed as part of the works.”
They added: “The project team is regularly meeting with emergency services and key stakeholders, including Leighton Hospital and Bentley, to improve the traffic management around the works and to explore any options that may be available.”
The council acknowledges the diversion route is 10.6 miles.
“The diversion route needs to provide a similarly classed road to that being closed, to ensure large vehicles can navigate the closure in safety,” said the spokesperson.
By Belinda Ryan – Local Democracy Reporter
8th Jun 2022 10:15 am | Local News
(Updated: 1 Hours, 56 minutes ago)