A MAJOR link road which will relieve traffic issues in Cheshire East and create space for cyclists and pedestrians is set to open from Monday.

From lunchtime on April 19, the new £90 million Congleton Link Road will welcome drivers for the first time following a small Covid-secure ribbon cutting.

The 5.5km route, which is the borough's largest ever infrastructure project, will be named Wolstenholme Elmy Way – after Congleton’s famous pioneering educationalist and campaigner for votes for women, Elizabeth Clarke Wolstenholme Elmy.

Pedestrians and cyclists were granted access to the route on Friday, before it opens for road vehicles on Monday.

The new road is expected to relieve Congleton of some of its historical traffic problems, as well as improve air quality for residents and open up new development opportunities for employment and housing.

The route had been due to open late last year, but it was delayed due to the Covid pandemic and severe winter weather.

Despite these challenges, the council's contractor Graham has delivered the scheme within budget.

Knutsford Guardian: Cllr Craig BrowneCllr Craig Browne

Councillor Craig Browne, Cheshire East Council deputy leader with responsibility for infrastructure, said: “The opening of this link road will be a real ‘red letter’ day for the council, Graham, road users and, above all, the people of Congleton.

"Traffic congestion has previously hampered town centre growth, reduced inward investment and also made it difficult to retain existing business.

“I am delighted this massive project has progressed so well, despite the added challenges of two extremely wet winters and, of course, the Covid pandemic, which affected many of the schemes suppliers and meant contractors had to take special measures to protect workers.

“For a project of this size and complexity, the progress made from first inception to completion has been nothing short of astonishing. Everyone connected with this scheme should be proud.”

The new highway joins the A534 Sandbach Road to the west and the A536 Macclesfield Road to the north, opening up connectivity and improving travel between Macclesfield, Congleton and the M6.

It will release 20 hectares of new employment land with the potential to create 3,000 jobs by 2035.

Alastair Lewis, contracts manager for Graham, said: “This is a fantastic moment for the whole construction team, its partners and the local community.

"Despite the impact of the pandemic and some tough recent winter weather, we have been able to continue our works in a safe manner, while following government and public health guidelines, and have delivered the link road as close to the original schedule as possible – and within budget.”

Cheshire East Council is contributing £24m towards the scheme with central government and developer contributions meeting the balance.

For more information visit the council's Congleton link road webpage or Graham's website.