Road closed at Middlewich Road (1)

Three councillors have called on Cheshire East Council’s chief executive to drive the 10.6 mile diversion route caused by A530 Middlewich Road closure to see the havoc it is causing local people, writes Belinda Ryan.

Rachel Bailey, who represents Audlem, Margaret Simon, of Wistaston, and Patrick Redstone, of Odd Rode ward, have written to Lorraine O’Donnell saying the road closure has blocked important ambulance routes, added delays to commutes and caused disruption throughout Crewe and Nantwich.

And they demanded to know who was responsible for the “pointlessly extended road closure”.

“We have severe concerns about the closure of this road and the negative impacts it will have on local taxpayers’ lives,” they said in the letter.

“As a local group of councillors, we drove the diversion route to Leighton Hospital from the Alvaston Roundabout and are concerned that:

– the diversion signs assume that all road users are familiar with the area, so members of the public visiting Leighton Hospital may get lost and miss their critical medical appointments.
– the diversion signs are contradictory and confusing, which could cause traffic accidents and danger on the roads
– the diversion signs take little or no account of a family member trying to access Accident and Emergency with a poorly loved one; it is essential to note that not all emergencies access our hospital via ambulance.”

The Conservative councillors are angry none of the questions they put to the interim head of highways at a recent meeting of the audit and governance committee were answered.

“As a matter of urgency, we would like you to address the lack of response from Cheshire East Council to both local and national coverage relating to the impact on journey times for Leighton Hospital staff and patients, Cheshire East waste operatives, road users and residents,” they said.

Cheshire East has said Middlewich Road is not closed for 80 weeks but up to October 2022.

And they told Nantwich News this week why it was necessary to close the road before visible construction work began.

A council spokesperson said: “The council has been working closely with our main contractors, Balfour Beatty, to ensure that the sequencing of the NWCP works is coordinated to allow them to take place safely, and that any road or lane closures that are necessary are in place for the shortest amount of time as possible.

“Between now and March 2023, various full and partial closures will be required on the A530 Middlewich Road between junctions at Pyms Lane and Flowers Lane.

“The first of these closures – a full closure between junctions at Pyms Lane and Smithy Lane – is now in place until the end of October, with access maintained to the local businesses and residents.

“During this time, two new roundabouts will be built, along with new drainage, kerbing and surfacing, which is needed to tie the existing road into the new roundabouts.

“All this will require work to be carried out right across the road, including survey work to locate and divert utilities.

“Furthermore, to construct one of these roundabouts, the existing road will have to be fully removed to a depth of approximately 1.2m.

“While works are taking place, a ‘safety zone’ needs to be put in place around them. There is not adequate space to do this without closing the road – especially given the speed and nature of the road.

“The safety of the public and workforce is paramount.”

Meanwhile, it’s now been agreed that emergency ambulances can use Pyms Lane to access Leighton Hospital while Middlewich Road is closed.

Ward councillor Connor Naismith (Lab) said a number of improvements have been made to help people impacted by the lengthy road closure.

Pyms Lane was closed permanently in 2020 when Bentley Motors expanded its campus. It remains closed to the public and is gated off but the Crewe West councillor said ambulances can use it.

He said: “I am confident the highways team are looking for ways to mitigate the impact on residents and we have already seen some of that with improved signage, changes to the closures and opening Pyms Lane for ambulances.

“We are looking to improve communications and I think steps are being taken to ensure that happens.”

Labour group leader Cllr Sam Corcoran said: “Rather than raise their concerns about highways at the highways and transport committee, the Conservatives decided to talk about roadworks at the council’s audit and governance committee!

“It seems they just want to play party politics rather than actually resolving issues affecting residents.”

(pic by Jonathan White)

6 Comments

  1. I don’t see how openung up Pyms Lane helps.
    That just takes you to Minshull New Road, where all the congestion is.

  2. Chris, My Parish Council , which covers Leighton and Woolstanwood, asked for an urgent meeting with the Council.
    All they have offered is a meeting with the developers tomorrow.
    Totally unacceptable.

  3. Alistair Raisbeck says:

    Noticed more rubbish on this road scheme from Labour councillors sting there is a misunderstanding of the scheme. No misunderstanding here, been heavily delayed several times lately and today had a 22 minute dash to Leighton A&E when 10 mins would have done it in the past. Plumes Lane is no good for diversions as we still have to negotiate Minshull New Road. Also the road through Church Minshull is hopeless over the three narrow bridges.

  4. Mike Talbot says:

    If the road is now closed what a great football pitch it would make

  5. Alistair Raisbeck says:

    Total bluster by CEC. Pyms Lane makes no difference to ambulance delays, they are caused in Minshull New Road and also Church Minshull owing to diverted local traffic. I sometimes wonder if people making the comments know the area at all! As for the way works are scheduled, it is a joke, not even working 24/7 or in a sensible project managed way!

  6. Chris Moorhouse says:

    In view of all the adverse comments you would have thought that the CE or one of her Chief Officers had already checked the road networks out at various times in the day. They will not do site meetings with residents and I suspect Councillors have the same problem, I think they are reluctant to have sensible questions being asked of them as they cannot justify their actions.
    It is hoped that the Councillors will keep us informed as things develop especially if the CE takes up their challenge. Don’t hold your breath.

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