WORK has started on the latest phase of the £9.5m highways improvement works along Birchwood Way.

The Warrington East phase three project is officially under way to reduce congestion, improve road safety and support employment, particularly in Birchwood Park.

This phase of the works focuses on the A574 Birchwood Way, from the M62 junction 11 to the Moss Gate/Daten Avenue junction. It aims to provide additional highway capacity and improve traffic flow in the area.

Improvements include the construction of a new carriageway on the south side of Birchwood Way for traffic travelling towards Warrington, which will then form a dual carriageway link between Moss Gate to the M62 junction 11, significantly increasing capacity for access in and out of Birchwood from the motorway.

It's the latest stage in the series of improvements to Birchwood Way that began in 2015 with the Birchwood Pinch Point project, and more recently the Warrington East Phase two scheme, which is now also under construction.

Warrington Borough Council’s executive board member for highways, transportation and public realm, Cllr Hans Mundry, said: “It’s great news that this project is moving forward so successfully. This road is a very important gateway to Warrington, and these improvements will bring huge benefits to the travelling public.

“The works are an important part of our wider investment in our highways and transportation infrastructure. It’s about reducing congestion, improving journey time reliability, supporting employment and making Warrington a great place to live and work.”

As part of the phase 3 scheme, the motorway roundabout at junction 11 will be resurfaced with new road markings to improve capacity and safety. The existing vegetation on the south side of Birchwood Way will also be removed to make space for the new carriageway, and the vegetation on the north side will be trimmed back.

There will be a landscaping scheme for the south side of the road to blend into the remaining woodland.

The main construction work begins in January 2019 and is expected to last around 12 months. The construction of the phase three project will be run in parallel with the Warrington East Phase two scheme currently being built between Blackbrook Avenue and Oakwood Gate.

Two-way traffic will be maintained on Birchwood Way while the new carriageway is being built, with work taking place behind a safety fence. There will be some off-peak lane restrictions towards the end of the scheme where the new carriageway joins the existing one.

Some night time road closures will need to be undertaken for necessary resurfacing works. These will be coordinated with the M62 managed motorway scheme and will be communicated to the public in advance.