A556 aerial view

Providing a safer, more reliable road network in Cheshire

A new major strategic route in Cheshire carrying approximately 51,500 vehicles daily, is providing faster and more reliable journeys between the M6 and M56 motorways – benefiting commerce and commuters alike.

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Complex delivery

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Highways England

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March 2017

Key benefits


road network


journey times and reliability


conflicts between long distance and local traffic


the environmental impacts of the scheme, during construction and once open to traffic


the local environment in Bucklow Hill and Mere

The A556 is a key strategic route linking the West Midlands and Cheshire to Greater Manchester and Manchester International Airport. The old road was heavily congested and compromised by busy crossroads.

The new four-mile dual carriageway road, which fully opened to traffic on Monday 6 March 2017, bypasses the former A556 and the villages of Mere, Bucklow Hill and Over Tabley. It provides a quicker and more reliable link between junction 19 of the M6 and junction 7 of the M56 for 50,000 vehicles, including 7,000 lorries, which rely on the motorway to motorway connection every day.

The new road is the first major North West project to be delivered in the Government’s £15 billion investment in the strategic road network up to 2021. The final stages of the project involved converting the former A556 to the B5569, with a new single carriageway road for local communities alongside a segregated green corridor for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders. The new B road was officially handed to local communities on 03 November.

B5569 official opening
The B5569, was handed to local communities on 03 November 2017.

Reduced environmental impact

Costain worked with Highways England and its own supply chain to provide a road with a 100 year future proofing. This involved an innovative design to reduce cost and inbuilt carbon, whilst also enhancing the natural environment.

The ‘Green Bridge’ is a key feature of the scheme as it is Highways England’s first structure designed specifically to maintain a connection between habitats dissected by the road. It provides a wildlife friendly, safe corridor to the wider landscape, post construction. 11 metres wide, its decking is covered with soils and planted with appropriate vegetation, integrated with planting on the land to either side.

Facts and Figures

  • 93% waste is diverted from landfill
  • 3300T carbon reduced through innovation
  • 21 wildlife ponds constructed to compensate for loss of natural ponds
  • One artificial badger set created. Footage has already shown emerging badger cubs
  • Six bat hop-overs installed and bat boxes erected to mitigate for the loss of bat roosts
  • Several mammal tunnels constructed to provide safe crossing points.

The scheme has been awarded a Silver Green Apple award in recognition of the achievements in sustainability and the environment.


A556 Ground Green Bridge
A556 Ground Green bridge

Stakeholder engagement

Stakeholder engagement has been consistent throughout the life cycle of the scheme. The community team proactively communicated to local stakeholders including residents, businesses, parish councils, Manchester Airport, emergency services, community groups and educational settings.

In recognition of the extensive stakeholder engagement work that has been undertaken, the project was named the Most Considerate Site in the UK (projects over £10m) at the Considerate Constructors Awards 2016 and won the Customer Experience award at the Highways England Supplier Recognition awards.

A556 Considerate Constructors
Our winning team

Contact and social


Simon Ellison, Sector director
01628 842 444