THE time has come for residents affected by the planned improvements to the A556 to have their say.

The Highways Agency will be holding a three-month consultation with the public from Monday, January 23 to Monday, April 16.

As part of the consultation, a public exhibition – where people will be able to see the plans and speak to the project team – will be held at Cottons Hotel and Spa on Manchester Road, in Knutsford, on Saturday, January 28, from 10am to 5pm, on Tuesday, January 31 from 10am to 9pm and on Thursday, February 9 from 1pm to 9pm.

As part of the proposed scheme, a new dual carriageway would run between junction 19 of the M6 and junction 7 of the M56 – bypassing Over Tabley, Mere and Bucklow Hill.

The new dual carriageway would run mainly to the west of the existing A556, and as well as the two motorway junctions, there would be other junctions along the new route for access to local communities – which has caused anger in Millington and High Legh.

The road would rejoin the existing A556 for a short section north of Bucklow Hill.

The part of the A556 being bypassed by the new dual carriageway would be reduced from two lanes to one lane in each direction to discourage its use by through traffic with the disused lanes being replaced with grass verges.

Jeremy Bloom, senior development manager at the Highways Agency, said: “This is a major project which should help tackle road safety and congestion issues for road users travelling through Cheshire and Greater Manchester.

“It will also improve life for people living along the existing route of the A556 by taking traffic away from local communities.

“The consultation is an opportunity for the public to let us know what they think about the scheme. We’re interested in comments on everything from the layout and locations of junctions, to the plans for the existing road and the arrangements during construction.

“If you live in the area or regularly drive along the A556, then you’ll know what the problems, are so we want to hear what people think of our plans. We’ll take into account all the suggestions we receive when we develop our final proposals.”

From January 23, leaflets and information will also be available throughout the consultation at Knutsford Library, Macclesfield Town Hall, Sandbach Library, Trafford Council’s ‘Welcome Point’ at Waterside House, in Sale, Little Bollington Primary School and the Highways Agency office at Piccadilly Gate in Manchester.

Subject to the completion of statutory processes, work is due to start before March 2015.