A second bypass could be on the cards for Middlewich.
A report which will be presented to the Cheshire and Warrington local transport body (LTB) on Friday says a business case for a southern link road is due to be completed in March.
The road would connect Winsford Industrial Estate with the M6, taking traffic away from the A54 through Middlewich.
If the plan comes to fruition, it would become the second relief road around the town, with work due to start on the Middlewich eastern bypass at the end of the year.
Councillor Mike Hunter, Labour member for Middlewich on Cheshire East Council, said: “When it comes to talking about Middlewich and bypasses we tend to get a cynical reaction from residents – and I for one don’t blame them.
“Even though work on the eastern bypass will start very shortly, I am not sure I will truly believe it until I see cars driving up and down it, so talk of a southern link going to Winsford will seem even more like more jam tomorrow.
“But all road schemes start off with a feasibility study, then a business case, then funding, then construction.
“Let’s hope that this is the beginning of that southern bypass route.”
The LTB has representatives from CEC, Cheshire West and Chester Council and Warrington Borough Council – plus the Local Enterprise Partnership, Network Rail, Highways England and the Department for Transport.
It agreed to consider working on a business case for the Middlewich southern link road in December 2018.
Suggestions for the route include upgrading Clive Green Lane, a single-carriageway country lane that links Winsford Industrial Estate to the A530 Nantwich Road, but includes a narrow bridge over the Shropshire Union Canal branch.
The report – written by Sean Traynor, senior manager for transport and infrastructure at CWAC – says that the local authority has been working on the project with CEC.
Officers considered environmental issues in December and are due to meet with HS2 Ltd this month to discuss the link road – with the area set to be hit by the proposed high-speed railway on the route between Crewe and Manchester.
Councillor Hunter added that Middlewich councillors will monitor progress of the project through the LTB and ‘place pressure on CEC members of that committee’ to support it.