I am extremely disappointed to learn that the Mottram bypass construction timetable has slid back a year. I spoke to Highways England (HE) first hand to tell them so and establish the reasons for the delay.
HE remain adamant that the project will still proceed. They confirmed that delays continue to be due to air quality monitoring tests in the area. The issue has been that HE now want a full year’s worth of data to inform their work rather than the 2-3 months’ worth which was originally allocated in the provisional timetable. It is important to stress that this additional monitoring relates to the wider system rather than the proposed bypass itself. That is to say that HE want to understand the impact the bypass will have on tributary roads in the area, as it is expected that the project will bring with it more traffic from drivers who had previously tried to avoid the bottleneck. Once this data is collected, HE can then work with local authorities to incorporate provisions to alleviate such impact in their plans for the bypass.
A full year’s worth of tests would bring us to October of this year which would mean the timetable as a whole has been pushed back by 12 months. This data must then be analysed with the Development Consent Order – the planning application for the project – expected to be submitted in 2020 and construction than set to commence in 2021.
Originally as a resident of Hollingworth and Mottram, then as a councillor for Longdendale and now as the MP, I have seen the tribulations, arguments and disappointments which have come along with this project over the decades that it has been discussed. I understand that people have become somewhat jaded by this process and I empathise with the anger and exasperation of local residents.
I hope that this update has helped to clarify the present situation and offered some reassurances. This setback is disappointing but I want to assure you that I will continue to press HE for the regular updates that residents deserve and for us to move forwards so that people’s faith can be restored that we will see the bypass constructed. I also continue to press for the eventual extension of a Hollingworth and Tintwistle bypass. This remains in Transport for the North strategy plans and I continue to make the case and pile on the pressure. Our villages have been dangerous traffic blackspots and our local economy stilted by congestion for too long.