Plans to significantly expand capacity at Junction 6 of the M56 in order to support future development ambitions around HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail’s (NPR) new station at Manchester Airport have been announced.
Developed in collaboration with National Highways, the plans propose moving Junction 6 of the motorway to the southwest and integrate the works into HS2’s construction schedule. Doing so would reduce the long-term impacts for local residents and road users if the works are carried out at a later date.
This would not only improve access to the new joint station for millions of people, but it would also reduce local road congestion.
HS2 say the suggested changes reflect the ongoing engagement being done as the hybrid Bill process continues.
Tim Smart, Managing Director of HS2’s Phase Two programme said:
“The new combined HS2 and NPR station at Manchester Airport will deliver a major boost to the North West’s economy, and we believe there’s further potential for growth if additional capacity is created on the surrounding road networks.”
“HS2’s arrival is already spearheading development plans for more new homes and premium commercial space in the area. This enhanced connectivity could bolster those plans, help to future proof the road network, and benefit local communities by reducing congestion.”
Initial concepts include the M56 being realigned to the south and Junction 6 being reconfigured into a roundabout, with the HS2 line running in a shallow tunnel below. Link roads would join the new junction to the already existing road network.
Further plans would also see the existing Junction 6 roundabouts made into signal-controlled junctions, with a direct link to the HS2/NPR station provided. To improve local roads, the Runger Lane/Avro Way junction would also have traffic lights installed.
HS2 has already begun its consulting process, engaging with anyone who would be directly affected by the changes. The proposal will be submitted to Parliament later this year, with any concerns raised during the consultations to be considered before approval is given.
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