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Major transport regeneration programme moves up a gear

19 November 2021

Councillor Daniel Meredith at the construction site of the new link road.

Work to create a brand new link road at junction 19 of the M62 is well underway, with the first section of the key route almost complete.

Construction of the 2.2 kilometre road started in spring this year. Once complete, it will connect junction 19 at Heywood and Middleton to new development opportunities being created in the area and enhance access to existing employment sites such as the Heywood and Hareshill Distribution Parks.

The new road will bring major highways benefits to the area by rerouting traffic away from Heywood town centre, Birch and Bowlee

The first section of new road, linking the motorway to Manchester Road, is now almost fully constructed. Groundwork for another section of the new road, which will run alongside Hareshill Road and serve proposed new housing at the site, is also well underway.

The new road, which is expected to complete by the end of 2022, will bring major highways benefits to the area by rerouting heavy goods vehicle (HGV) traffic away from Heywood town centre, as well as Birch and Bowlee, significantly reducing congestion in these residential areas.

It is also expected to save an estimated 4,700 kilometres per day of journeys by providing HGV drivers with a direct route from the motorway into the business parks, where currently they have to go via Simister Island.

Around 3 kilometres of new walking and cycling routes will also be delivered as part of the scheme, and the new road will enable the provision of bus services to serve the new development and the existing business parks.

The road is being built by major contractor John Sisk and Son. The company has already delivered a number of social value projects in the area since construction started, including holding 8 careers events with local schools and colleges and hosting 4 students on work experience, with plans to work more closely with Hopwood Hall College next year.

The new road is part of a wider regeneration programme which is expected to bring almost 3,000 new jobs to the area

The new road is part of the South Heywood masterplan, which is being delivered by developer Russell Homes in conjunction with Rochdale Borough Council and the Rochdale Development Agency. The work at South Heywood is the first phase of the Northern Gateway, one of the biggest regeneration opportunities in the region. The new link road will unlock development opportunities and support the creation of 1,000 new homes, a new primary school, and over 135,000 square metres of employment space in South Heywood. Around 2,800 jobs are also expected to be created at the South Heywood site in the long term, with more to follow as the wider Northern Gateway project progresses.

Councillor Danny Meredith, cabinet member for highways, said: "It's great to see this game changing scheme progressing so quickly. We are lucky to benefit from good transport links, but we want to make them better and ensure that they work for everybody, regardless of where they live in the borough.

"This new road is a key part of our plan to overhaul transport provision across the borough and it will put our residents in the best possible position to benefit from the employment and wider economic opportunities that the South Heywood development will bring, as part of the Northern Gateway. I'm also really pleased that Sisk have very much engaged with school and colleges in the Heywood and Middleton area to ensure that local young people are benefitting from work which is taking place in their borough."

Nick Culshaw, Sisk Managing Director for UK Civils and Rail, said: "This new road will not only help improve transport links, but our work on site is also bringing additional social value to the area. Alongside National Highways' Education Group, we held a collaborative work experience week that allowed students from the area to learn more about construction and tour the site. I'm proud that we've been able to add value to the local community, as well as help bring this important transport improvement to the area."

The new road is expected to be complete in 2022

Daniel Kershaw, Russell Homes director, said: "The link road has been a long held ambition for this area and will unlock the development of much needed new homes and highly desirable employment space as part of the South Heywood masterplan. We are pleased, after many years of planning, to see the link road project on track and completion of this first phase as planned."