‘Major milestone’ in construction of £53m relief road

A ‘major milestone’ has been reached in the construction of the £53 million Poynton Relief Road.

The first two beams for the new Chester Road overbridge have now been lifted into place, Cheshire East Council has revealed.

A 400-tonne crane was used to lift the 21.4m beams into position, with each weighing 38 tonnes.

The operation was completed within a day and the beams will form part of the largest structure in the scheme.

The 3km road will be a modern single carriageway aimed at easing traffic in the area, but it will also include two overbridge crossings for use by walkers, cyclists and farm vehicles.

The contract for the road was awarded to Graham back in 2019, with completion expected around autumn 2022.

Councillor Craig Browne, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council and chair of the authority’s highways and transport committee, said: “It’s great to see significant progress being made on this long-awaited scheme. The council has maintained a clear vision and commitment to investing in infrastructure throughout the pandemic.

“This new road will improve links to Macclesfield and the surrounding area, open up some much-needed employment land and also reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality in Poynton.”

The design and build contract was awarded to construction and civil engineering specialist contractor Graham, which carried out a design work and site surveys.

The latter included archaeological and ecological appraisals and creation of new ecological habitats before the main construction began.

Key earthworks operations began in April. These must be carried out during the dry months of the year and are essential to the progress of the scheme.

The ‘cut and fill’ work will involve excavation, transportation, placement and compaction of about 240,000 tonnes of material.

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Graham project manager Nick Hodder said: “Despite the challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic to the project, our team has worked tirelessly with the council and our stakeholders to ensure great progress across this much-needed scheme.

“The lifting into place of the first two concrete bridge beams for the largest bridge along the route marked a major milestone of the construction phase and the team have received plenty of interest in our construction activities taking place on Chester Road.

“It was great to see many members of the public watching the beams being lifted into place from a safe distance.

“Earthworks recently started, with various machines now based full time on the project, performing different roles to fulfil these operations.

“I would like to thank the local residents and commuters for their continued patience while we deliver this important infrastructure programme.”

Funding for the scheme was agreed by government earlier this year, following a successful bid by Cheshire East Council for local growth funding administered by Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership.

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