The Warrington East project - a series of transport and highways improvements on Birchwood Way – has officially been completed.
The completion of the third and final phase of the project is a significant milestone for east Warrington. It brings to an end the major programme of improvements for the area - following the completion of phase 1 (the Birchwood Pinchpoint project) in 2016, and phase 2 (Birchwood Way junction improvements) in September 2019.
The Phase 3 project consisted of the dualling of the A574 Birchwood Way between the Moss Gate/Daten Avenue junction and M62 junction 11 and was opened to traffic in December 2019.
The new carriageway has been constructed on land reserved for this purpose since the Northern Expressway was first built in the mid-1970s as part of the Warrington New Town highway network.
The overall project, now complete, will play a key role in supporting the local economy, including the Birchwood Enterprise Zone, Birchwood Boulevard, Birchwood Shopping Centre and all other employment sites in the area.
Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, Rt Hon Jake Berry MP, said: “Congratulations to Warrington Borough Council and Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership on the successful completion of this important infrastructure project which will help reduce congestion, improve local connections and support businesses to grow.
“This £6.9 million investment from the Government’s Local Growth Fund into the Warrington East Highway demonstrates our commitment to boosting economic growth, levelling up and connecting communities across the Northern Powerhouse.”
Warrington Borough Council’s cabinet member for transportation, highways and public realm, Cllr Hans Mundry, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that this hugely important project– delivering major transport improvements on a key gateway into Warrington - has been completed on time and well within budget.
“When we began work on the project in 2016, our ambition was to deliver a high quality scheme which would reduce congestion - especially during the peak hours, improve traffic flows and journey times and make the network safer and more reliable. It’s great news that this has now become a reality.
“These improvements will make a huge difference to motorists travelling into and out of Warrington along this key corridor, now and in the future.”
Warrington Borough Council Leader, Cllr Russ Bowden, said: “The completion of the Warrington East programme is a major success for our borough, and an important part of our ongoing investment in our highways infrastructure.
“Keeping East Warrington moving, with a safe, reliable transport network, will bring huge benefits, not only to the travelling public, but to local residents, who will see a reduction in the impact of traffic on them.
“At the same time, these improvements will support Warrington’s growth as a business-friendly destination, providing a more attractive area for businesses, and encouraging increased occupancy of existing employment land in the area, which in turn will help generate additional employment and training opportunities for local people.
“What is also very important is that these improvements are just one part of a much wider programme of transport improvements across the town. The Council will have delivered over £100m worth of transport improvement schemes in just 5 years between 2016 and 2021. These include improvements at M62 Junction 8, further improvements to a number of junctions around Omega and Lingley Mere, the recently opened Warrington West Railway Station and the Centre Park Link scheme which is due to open to traffic before the end of 2020.”
The final project cost is expected to be around £7.0m. Funding has come from council borrowing and grants from the Local Growth Fund, managed by the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, and the National Productivity Investment Fund, managed by the Department for Transport.
The works were carried out by principal contractor Balfour Beatty. Landscaping works will take place this Spring.
The cost of both phases 2 and 3 were reduced by delivering them simultaneously, with a reduction in the cost of preliminary and site supervision works and the use of one site office for both phases. The Council would like to thank everyone in east Warrington for their patience with regard to the disruption to traffic flows which, as with all major highway works, is to be expected.
Thomas Edgcumbe, Managing Director of Balfour Beatty’s Regional North and Midlands business, said: “We are delighted that our expert team were able to deliver all three phases of this major highways improvement scheme in East Warrington on time and to budget.
“As well as delivering significant transport infrastructure improvement for the travelling public, this project will help to reduce congestion for local residents and enhance road safety for cyclists and pedestrians along the Birchwood Way.”