A £212 million bypass planned to tackle congestion will be built after the Government approved funding for the scheme.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling has confirmed the Government will put £142.5 million towards the project, with Warrington Borough Council to contribute £70.2 million.

It comes more than 14 months after the Labour-run authority submitted its outline business case to the Department for Transport.

The highway, which is being tipped to tackle the town’s congestion misery, will connect the A56 Chester Road with the A57 Sankey Way in Great Sankey.

But it has sparked anger from campaigners, who had called for the controversial proposals to be shelved.

Along with requiring a high-level bridge across the Manchester Ship Canal, any new link road would also need to travel over the Mersey and the West Coast Main Line.

Warrington Guardian:

Manchester Ship Canal

Transport bosses previously confirmed ‘complex engineering’ would be required to ‘overcome these obstacles’.

Parish councillor Andy Carter, who was recently selected as the Tory parliamentary candidate for Warrington South, said he believed infrastructure investment was long overdue and the link road was a step forward to tackling the ‘long-standing congestion problems the town has faced for years’.

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“This is really good news for Warrington,” he added.

“If we want to see regeneration in the town centre, we have to solve the congestion problems which are a barrier to growth.

“A new bridge is desperately needed and this will make a major difference to the traffic problems around Bridge Foot.

“This decision will help to ensure the continued economic success and prosperity of our town and reinforces the Government’s commitment to boosting productivity in the north of England.

Warrington Guardian:

Andy Carter

“However, I remain totally opposed to proposals for use of the green belt in the local plan, the council have yet to demonstrate they have made a realistic assessment of the number of homes the borough needs.

“Warrington simply cannot justify the level of building suggested in their plans.”

Mr Grayling, secretary of state for transport, hailed Mr Carter for his efforts.

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He said: “Andy Carter has consistently campaigned for investment into the town’s road network to tackle long-standing congestion issues.

“The £142 million Western Link road in Warrington provides the high-level ship canal crossing needed and my department have been working closely with the council to ensure that it will be delivered.

“Investing in our transport network, particularly in the north of England, is a major Conservative focus, ensuring we can make it easier for people to travel for work and to visit friends and families, and for local businesses to grow.”

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During the leader’s forum last night, ahead of the decision, council leader Cllr Russ Bowden said the Western Link is ‘key to the council’s ambitions’ to tackle town centre congestion and improve air quality.

Warrington Guardian:

Cllr Russ Bowden

The Government says thousands of new jobs and homes could be created as a result of the cash injection for the scheme.

It is also tipping it to open up land for development for ‘up to 24,000 new homes’ and deliver ‘substantial’ employment opportunities.

Furthermore, the scheme will create job opportunities at the Port of Warrington.

Roads minister Jesse Norman said: “Investment in roads cuts travel time, increases productivity and helps create new job opportunities.

“The new Western Link road will significantly benefit both road users and residents in Warrington and is the latest instalment of the Government’s record £13 billion investment in transport across the north of England.”

Construction on the new road could start as early as 2021. It would have to go through the planning process first.

Council chiefs have welcomed the announcement.

Cllr Bowden said: “This decision is great news for Warrington – it’s a welcome announcement that will help to keep our town moving.

“We need to support residents, visitors and businesses with the right infrastructure and, recognising Warrington’s growth over the decades and our future aspirations, this bypass is a vital part of helping to alleviate town centre traffic congestion and improve air quality.

“Investing in our transport infrastructure has, and continues to be, a priority and I’m pleased we’ve finally had confirmation that we can progress the Western Link scheme.

“This has been a lengthy process and I’m grateful for the support we have received in getting the decision over the line – not least Faisal Rashid MP for his continued advocacy and commitment to the scheme.”

Cllr Hans Mundry, executive board member for highways and transportation, added: “The Western Link is a critical part of the council’s new local transport plan (LTP4) proposals.

“It will allow major improvements to be made to access in and around the town centre – by all types of transport.

“The completion of the scheme, expected by the mid-2020s, will provide a ‘missing link’ in the town’s transport network – and it supports our ambitions to tackle town centre congestion and our air quality improvement plans.”

The cash boost is part of the Government’s £13 billion investment in northern transport, which includes Highways England’s £1.5 billion to enhance motorways and major A roads in the north west, as well as £1.57 billion from the growth deal for more than 60 transport schemes in the region until 2021.

In addition, Warrington West Station in Chapelford, which received £4.23 million from the new stations fund, is due to be completed later this year.