Government announces £33.6 million scheme to improve the A34 in Stockport

Works will enhance walking and cycle accessibility while tackling congestion and reducing journey times

Motorists, pedestrians and cyclists in Greater Manchester and Stockport will benefit from better connectivity and new economic and housing opportunities thanks to critical improvements to the A34 Cheadle-Handforth.

Today, Friday 3 June, the Government has announced it will invest £33.6 million in the A34 Corridor Improvement Scheme Phase 1 to ease congestion and enhance walking and cycling accessibility along the corridor.

The improvements will generate £76.8 million in direct economic benefits by supporting the development of more than 2,500 new homes and 33.3 hectares of employment space, while boosting transport links to Manchester Airport and HS2.

The project will create new opportunities for clean, active travel since it includes the construction of a segregated pedestrian and cycle route running along the A34 corridor.

These improvements have been assessed to be high value for money as they will also improve access to the Cheadle Royal Business Park, the Stanley Green business area and Kingsway School.

Roads Minister Baroness Vere said: “We are committed to delivering world-class infrastructure across Greater Manchester to ensure the local economy can truly thrive.

“This £33.6 million in funding will improve connectivity and attract crucial economic investment to boost local employment and housing development, while giving motorists, cyclists and pedestrians the modern, safe and uncongested roads they deserve.

“This scheme presents yet another important stepping stone towards building more pedestrian and cycle facilities to create a clean, efficient road network that is truly accessible to all.”

In total, the proposed scheme consists of a series of 13 linked interventions which include improved capacity at key locations across the corridor, a new link road connecting the A34 and Wilmslow Road, approved future housing development and new intelligent transportation system solutions to provide better network management.

The Department for Transport will provide £33.64m towards the project, with Stockport Council contributing £0.56 million. The remaining £6.3 million will be provided by third party developers.

Cllr Colin Macalister, Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration at Stockport Council, said: "This is fantastic news for Stockport. We believe this new scheme, which includes enhancing and improving the borough’s cycling and walking links, will help to encourage active travel and ensure journey times are improved.

“This scheme, which is subject to full public consultation and planning permission being granted, is much more than just focussing on cars: its aim is to encourage and support more sustainable forms of transport.

“The A34 is a vital route in the borough, and this investment will bring a host of benefits to not only the A34 corridor, but Stockport as a whole."

The investment follows a string of Government measures to encourage active travel and help level up the country by improving road infrastructure. These include £200 million to encourage cycling and walking, more than £5 billion over 2020 to 2025 for highways maintenance and the introduction of a new inspection regime to tackle the plague of potholes.

Peter Molyneux, Major Roads Director at Transport for the North, said: “Enhancing the A34 will bring significant benefits for all road users and we’re delighted that the project is being funded.

“As one of the schemes put forward by Transport for the North in our 2019 National Roads Fund bid, we highlighted its strategic importance to the local area in supporting new housing and employment developments and encouraging economic growth.

“It will bring improvements in journey times and capacity, and the active travel provision that is an integral part of the scheme will help to create a sustainable road network that is safe and practical for pedestrians and cyclists as well as those in motor vehicles.

“We look forward to continuing our close work with Stockport Council and seeing work begin later this year.”

The A34 scheme has received approval in principle. This is conditional on the local councils submitting final business cases once they've secured the legal permissions they need and have carried out procurement to select a contractor.