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Big change in Birchwood as ‘Pinch Point’ scheme reduces commuter times

Birchwood Park drives initiative to reduce journey times along A574 corridor

Birchwood’s major road improvement scheme, the ‘Pinch Point’ project, has slashed journey times by up to 9 minutes per journey during both the morning and evening peak travel hours, reveals a new traffic survey commissioned by Warrington Borough Council.

The improvements were requested by Birchwood Park to reduce peak time congestion in the Birchwood area; long journeys and heavy traffic has meant that Birchwood has been subject to an unfavourable reputation for slow access during peak periods, when it is in fact an area ideally suited to attracting businesses that need a convenient location between Manchester, Liverpool and the major regional airports.

Birchwood Park offered to financially contribute towards Warrington Borough Council’s bid to the government’s Local Pinch Point fund in 2013. Though the bid was not successful, the in-depth work on the business case allowed the project to be accepted as part of the Local Growth Deal for Cheshire and Warrington with Birchwood Park a key partner in the process. Work on the £5.23 million project started in July 2015 and all three elements of the project were opened to traffic in March 2016.

Following the project’s completion in March, a traffic survey to test the success of the initiative has now also concluded. This compared journey times and traffic counts from 2015 and 2016 across two major routes to and from Birchwood Park, including the notoriously busy A574 corridor linking Birchwood Park and Junction 11 of the M62.

The study found time savings on both routes during the morning and evening peak hours. This includes an impressive average time saving of 5 minutes recorded during the eastbound morning peak period along the A574 corridor and a 9-minute average time saving along the eastbound section of the northern orbital route. This has been achieved despite the same traffic levels being recorded for the A574 corridor for 2015 and 2016.

Commenting on the improvements, Kenneth Seaward, Facilities Services Manager at Atkins, located at Birchwood Park, said: “Since the project was completed, our staff have commented on the vast improvements to their journey times to and from work. The access to the motorway at night is much better and journey times are less stressful, making life a lot easier for staff and visitors to the park.”

“Birchwood Park’s connectivity to the North West’s main cities was one of the biggest factors in our decision to move to the park, and it is great to see the improvements that have been undertaken to ensure this remains a huge benefit for residents here.

Martin O’Rourke, Commercial Director at Birchwood Park, added: “At Birchwood Park we are committed to doing all we can to ensure our customers thrive. We identified accessibility to the park as an area where we could drive improvement and we are happy to now see our customers and the local community reaping the benefits of this project”

“The Council listened when we raised concerns around congestion as a barrier to growth in Birchwood, and worked closely with us to devise a solution. With these significant improvements we can change perceptions and ensure the park remains a competitive destination for business that will continue to attract new companies for years to come.”

Details of the scheme can be found at www.warrington.gov.uk/birchwoodpinchpoint