The major highway project – which will support Warrington’s ongoing growth and transform journeys around one the borough’s most busy road networks – is now fully open to traffic.
Centre Park Link will help reduce traffic congestion and provide alternative routes. A new bridge crossing across the River Mersey from Chester Road, just north of Gainsborough Road, has been constructed, joining onto an extended Slutchers Lane, leading from Wilson Patten Street. New signal controlled junctions have been constructed at each end of the new link, on Chester Road and Wilson Patten Street.
The scheme will improve the overall capability of Warrington’s transport network to deal with incidents and will help make journey times shorter and more reliable for motorists and public transport users.
It will also unlock areas of land for development, bringing new jobs, housing and investment to Warrington.
Warrington Borough Council Leader, Cllr Russ Bowden, said: “The completion of Centre Park Link is absolutely fantastic news for Warrington. It will bring huge benefits to our town, relieving traffic congestion and increasing the resilience and reliability of the highway network.
“The official opening of this vital scheme is the latest boost to Warrington’s economic growth, supporting our ambitions to improve traffic flows in and around our town centre, improve air quality and make Warrington a more attractive place to live, work and invest.”
The scheme has been constructed by main contractor Balfour Beatty, through the Scape Civil Engineering and Infrastructure Framework.
Works have been completed on site despite the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. Council officers worked closely with the contractor to agree revised working methodologies to allow construction to continue, while ensuring compliance with Government and Public Health England guidelines.
Activities within the construction programme were also rescheduled by the project team and the contractor to take advantage of reduced traffic volumes in periods of lockdown. This proactive approach was key to minimising delays to the completion of the scheme.
Warrington Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for transportation, highways and public realm, Cllr Hans Mundry, said: “I’m delighted that Centre Park Link is now open to traffic. To complete this vital project with minimal delays, in such challenging circumstances, is a fantastic achievement.
“The new bridge and link road will help keep our town centre moving, making it much easier and quicker to get around, and providing smoother, faster journey times for thousands of motorists around Bridge Foot and Chester Road,
“It supports our vision– through our Local Transport Plan – to deliver high quality transport infrastructure which reduces congestion and supports Warrington’s growth.”
A number of partners have provided the funding for the £19.89 million project. £5.3 million has been contributed by the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership via the Local Growth Fund. Government, via Homes England, has contributed £3.7 million as part of the Housing Infrastructure Fund. The remainder of the funding comes from council borrowing.
Philip Cox, chief executive of the Cheshire and Warrington LEP, said: “Centre Park Link is one of nine transport schemes in Warrington that have received a total of £31m from the Local Growth Fund programme. The council has done an outstanding job in managing this complex project, which includes building a bridge across the river, a task not made any easier by the pandemic restrictions. Local businesses and residents will now benefit from the removal of congestion at one of the key bottlenecks in Warrington. The project has also unlocked a substantial piece of land which will be developed and contribute to regeneration in the area.”
For more information about Centre Park Link, visit warrington.gov.uk/centreparklink