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Mixed reaction to A6MARR

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Manchester Airport Relief Road Marple High Lane Disley

On the morning of Monday October 15, nearly four years after the bulldozers first went in, the brand new A6 to Manchester Airport Relief Road finally opened.

The traffic began to flow immediately. Now, several weeks on, residents of High Lane and Disley are beginning to understand how it will affect their daily use of the surrounding roads. It is fair to say there are very mixed views. For some, the road has been a “Godsend”. Others have called it a “white elephant.”

Once actually on the road, journey times are significantly shortened. Joining at its start, Simpsons Corner, Brookside Garden Centre is reached in no more than a couple of minutes. Access to the airport, naturally, is much improved. Choose the right time of day and it takes less time to get to the Sainsbury's at Cheadle Royal than the Hazel Grove store.

High Lane Road

But many are questioning the suitability of the surrounding infrastructure, with widely predicted problems already starting to occur. There have been several complaints about the timing of traffic lights in the area, particularly at the junction of Windlehurst Road and the A6. At peak times the traffic backs up considerably, with jams stretching far along Buxton Road. Drivers trying to join Windlehurst Road from Andrew Lane have found themselves facing a line of stationary cars. The junction at Jackson's Dairy has also been criticised. Many have wondered why traffic lights have been installed instead of a roundabout, which could possibly have eased unnecessary hold-ups.

The wide cycle path running alongside has been widely praised – a far better solution than simply painting a white line on the tarmac. Lighting, though, is a problem. Where the road runs through open fields it is often unlit: a lonely place to be on a winter's evening.

Overall, it is probably still too early to judge the full extent of its effects. Repairs to the traffic calming measures on Windlehurst Road – unfortunately delayed due to bad weather – coincided with the opening, and it has been noted that schools in both Stockport and Cheshire East areas have been on half-term holiday.

It's difficult to state whether the pros outweigh the cons. It will, inevitably, bring more traffic to the area and it remains to be seen what can be done to mitigate this and the attendant increases in pollution. On the other hand, many residents are already noticing drastic cuts to their commuting times and it is possible to detect a note of cautious optimism.

While it is, very much, a matter of wait and see, one thing is absolutely certain – the A6 MARR controversy is going to be around for some time yet.