Plans for a new bridge south of Crewe station aimed at easing congestion in Nantwich Road have been adopted by Cheshire East Council, writes Stephen Topping.
Cabinet members approved a preferred route for the new Southern Link Road Bridge at a meeting this week, following consultation held over the summer.
The new bridge would be built from Gresty Road to the west – north of the St Clair Street junction – to Weston Road on the east, close to Cowley Way.
CEC will now work on a business case for the bridge ready to submit to Government for future funding opportunities.
Cllr Brian Roberts, Labour member for Crewe West and cabinet member for highways and waste, said: “There are mixed feelings from the general public about the bridge.
“But I see this bridge as being a catalyst to reduce the never-ending growing congestion that we experience in the Nantwich Road area.
“I don’t want to miss an opportunity in that area being regenerated.
“It’s in real dire need for a total rethink of the area.”
However, Cllr Roberts admitted he did have concerns congestion could be shifted from Nantwich Road to the residential area around the bridge – and he called on CEC to use the plans as part of a “green corridor” into town, similar to Jack Mills Way.
There was a mixed reaction to the bridge in public consultation – with 86 respondents agreeing with the need for a bridge, and 53 suggesting they are against it.
Royal Mail objected to all options for the bridge, with the eastern side of it set to be close to the sorting office in Weston Road.
Concerns about “rat running” around the bridge were also raised in the consultation.
But Cllr Craig Browne, CEC’s independent deputy leader, said that traffic calming measures would be put in place to mitigate those issues.
Cllr Janet Clowes, leader of CEC’s Conservative opposition, said: “I think that on balance the recommended option that has come forward is the right one for this particular project at this particular part of Crewe.
“I think we have to look at it as an essential jigsaw piece in the larger puzzle that is being assembled and has been assembled for several years now.”
The bridge would include a footpath and cycleway, while junction improvements around the bridge would also be designed to cut congestion.
As well as prepare for funding opportunities, CEC will now be able to enter into legal agreements with Network Rail for the scheme and begin discussions with affected landowners, residents, businesses and community groups.
The remainder of the Crewe Hub area action plan – which prepares south Crewe for regeneration ahead of HS2 – is set to be adopted by cabinet at a future meeting.