|Length:||19 mi (31 km)|
|South-west end:||Delamere, Cheshire
|North-east end:||Bowdon in Greater Manchester
The A556 is a road in England which extends from the village of Delamere in Cheshire to the village of Bowdon in Greater Manchester. The road contains a mixture of single and dual carriageway sections and forms a large part of the route between Manchester and Chester. The part of the route between the M6 motorway junction 19 and the M56 motorway junction 7 is a major route into Manchester and has been recently upgraded to a four lane dual carriageway.
The road is frequently very congested, carrying approximately 50,000 vehicles per day, and has a high accident record; between 1998 and 2005, there were around 200 accidents, resulting in 5 fatalities and 39 people being seriously injured.
The route begins in the South of Manchester at junction 7 of the M56. It then runs in a Southwesterly direction towards Chester, finishing near Delamere.
At its northern limit, the A556 comes as a spur off the M56 at Junction 7 where it also connects with the A56 at the large interchange roundabout. The A56 continues towards central Manchester via Altrincham. The A556 runs south west as a new (2017) dual carriageway which has a limited access junction at Millington and another where it crosses the A50. The dual carriageway goes on to connect to the roundabout at Junction 19 of the M6.
The A556 continues as a four-laned single carriageway (i.e. with no physical separation between the traffic flows) in a south westerly direction to another set of traffic lights. A left (easterly) turn here joins the A5033 towards Knutsford. The road continues curving more towards a westerly direction and undulates on its way towards Northwich with only minor junctions until traffic lights for the junction with Plumley Moor Road (leading towards Plumley) by The Smoker pub.
At the junction with the A559 just outside the village of Lostock Gralam the road becomes dual carriageway again (it gains a central reservation) and turns south to bypass the town of Northwich. As the road skirts the south of Northwich, there is a roundabout with the A530 (south towards Middlewich); traffic lights for the Gadbrook Park industrial estate and another roundabout (the 'Davenham' roundabout) for the A533. This section of road was constructed prior to WW2 but not opened to traffic. In 1944 it was used to store Tanks and artillery in preparation for the Normandy landings (D-day). The road then crosses the River Weaver by an iron bridge, Hartford Bridge, known locally as the Blue Bridge, before heading in a westerly direction to the village of Sandiway near Cuddington.
The road through the village is limited to 40 miles per hour (64 km/h) and has traffic light junctions with Dalefords Lane/School Lane and the A49. Through Sandiway the road also becomes a two lane carriageway and continues as such to its end. As the road enters Sandiway, the Round Tower Lodge can be seen stranded in the central reservation of the road.
After the A49 junction the road becomes delimited and turns to a south westerly route past Oakmere and into a 50 miles per hour (80 km/h) limit for the junction with the B5152 that leads north to Delamere and Delamere Forest. The road rises up to finish at a junction with the A54 that continues towards Kelsall and Chester. This junction does not obviously mark the end of the A556 since traffic on the A556 has right of way and traffic on the A54 has to give way to join.
Work began in November 2014 to build a four lane dual carriageway bypass between junction 19 of the M6 at Mere and junction 7 of the M56 at Bowdon. The new road bypasses Mere, Bucklow, Millington and Rostherne and provides a strategic link for traffic heading between Manchester Airport and the south. It cost £192 million and opened on 6 March 2017. The section had previously been considered for upgrade to Motorway status, and but this was rejected in 2003 by the Secretary of State for Transport.
- "A556 Knutsford to Bowdon Environmental Improvement". Highways Agency. Retrieved 2008-01-21.
- "Final route management strategy report". Highways Agency. Retrieved 2008-01-21.
- "New £192m bypass opens linking M6 and M56 motorways". BBC. Retrieved 2017-03-10.
- "A556 (M6 J19 - M56 J7)". Highways Agency. Retrieved 2008-01-21.
- Statutory Instrument 1996 No. 1649 The A556(M) Motorway (M6 to M56 Link) Supplementary Connecting Roads Scheme 1996