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Omega Warrington Ltd (OWL) understands that traffic management and transport access is an extremely important issue for local people. As such, this issue is at the forefront of OWL’s approach to the site as well as Warrington Borough Council’s plans for the borough.

Omega transport approach

Omega has been designed to minimise the impact on local roads and to promote sustainable forms of travel.

Vital traffic and transport studies are being undertaken at each stage of planning to help the team understand:

  1. Current traffic levels
  2. Public transport access
  3. Future anticipated transport needs of workers and future residents

This will help to shape an understanding of what road and public transport improvements will need to be made in order to support the development.

Next steps for traffic management

Each stage of development will bring new measures to improve transport access and minimise traffic impact locally.

The current stage of development underway on Omega is Zone 7, logistics and manufacturing, on Omega South.  To view plans for transport access for Zone 7, logistics and manufacturing click here.

There are two key features to OWL’s transport approach for Zone 7. Both are a condition of the planning approval granted for Zone 7.

Skyline Drive: new road linking M62 Junction 8 with Omega Boulevard Skyline Drive was opened to the public in early December 2015. This new road will not only provide traffic relief for Burtonwood Road and Lingley Green Avenue but will also provide access for heavy goods vehicles to Omega directly to and from the motorway. It can also be used by lorries travelling to and from the Royal Mail site on Orion Boulevard and access to Lingley Mere employment area to/from the motorway.
Making M62 Junction 8 more efficient – The existing traffic signals at J8 M62 operate on a fixed time system. This is inefficient compared to modern technology and OWL has worked with the Council and Highways England, who are responsible for the M62, to install a new system called MOVA (Microprocessor, Optimised, Vehicle, Actuation) Instead of the fixed time traffic signals, the MOVA computer constantly monitors the traffic flows and detects queues on each road leading into the junction as they are happening. It then calculates how long to let the traffic lights show ‘green’ for each road to maximise the number of vehicles that can get through the junction. It does this calculation all the time, day and night, to make the traffic signals as efficient as possible. These works were undertaken in late July / early August to ensure these were completed in time for the opening of Skyline Drive.

Wider Warrington Approach

Improving public transport links

The Council’s Transport for Warrington Team has been working hard to ensure the best possible transport and access to Omega and other major developments planned in west Warrington.

It will be vital that these sites (of which Omega is the largest) are well served for access by all types of transport and that plans are put in place to help the transport network in west Warrington cope with the extra journeys which will be made to and from these new developments.

Progress already made

Progress, funded through money from the Council’s Local Transport Plan and Local Sustainable Transport Fund and also through developer contributions, has already been made with the following:

  • Improvements and additions to the east-west cycle network alongside an extensive range of pedestrian / cycle route improvements in west Warrington such as the Dallam to Westbrook route opened in 2015.
  • Speed reduction measures in residential areas to create a safer environment for walking and cycling including the introduction of a 20mph speed limit on residential roads.
  • Personalised travel planning with over 12,000 households in the north of the town to help residents access employment opportunities and access other key services by public transport, walking or cycling rather than by car.
  • A new travel advisory package for local businesses to help their employees get to work in more sustainable ways.
  • A series of marketing and promotional campaigns to promote the new initiatives and encourage people to use them. This has included the production of updated bus and cycling maps, and local area travel guides.

Future plans

The Council is examining a wide range of further improvements to transport in west Warrington to build on the progress already made and to ensure the Omega development is fully accessible. These improvements include:

Initiative Detail
Work to open up a new railway station at Warrington West (located within Chapelford Urban Village) To be served by both express and local rail services and to be connected by bus to Omega.
A successful bid was made for Government funding (within the Cheshire and Warrington Strategic Economic Plan) for a junction improvement for M62 Junction 8 Some £5million of funding has been provisionally awarded by the Government and development work is underway. Subject to final approval from the Government and the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, work on site is expected to start during 2016/17. This will increase the capacity of the junction helping it to cope better with current and predicted future increases in traffic.
A successful bid was made for £865,000 of Government funding for 2015/16 from the Department for Transport’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund. A further bid will be made to the government’s “Sustainable Travel Transition Fund” for 2016/17 with the intention of a future bid to the “Access” fund in 2017/18. The 2015/16 funding has allowed the Business and residential Travel Planning work to continue, for improved signing on the strategic cycle and walking network, also for the provision of Real Time Passenger Information displays at key bus stops around Warrington. All of these activities benefit the Omega area.
A transport study for Burtonwood has recently been completed and the first phase of work including improvements to signage advising drivers of heavy goods vehicles of the restrictions on them passing through Burtonwood and changes to traffic calming on Penkford Lane. Work is underway on the delivery of a range of further measures to improve access from the village to and from Omega and the rest of west Warrington, by all types of transport and also to make improvements within the village to help to reduce the number of heavy goods vehicles and the speed of all traffic. The study work and measures are to be funded by OWL. Funding has also been secured towards a subsidy for bus services to serve Omega – work is ongoing to identify bus services to support using this money.
Further developer contributions to be secured from Omega planning applications and other developments To enable improvements to be made to the transport network in west Warrington to help to enable it to cope with the extra traffic movements predicted.
Omega Warrington Limited (OWL) has set up an Omega Transportation Steering Group. It now meets on a quarterly basis. The Council and OWL in partnership with Halton and St.Helens Councils and other partners such as Highways England, bus and rail companies are looking to secure improvements to transport and access to Omega.

National approach

Announcements in the 2016 Budget revealed a number of infrastructure improvements to support the Northern Powerhouse agenda including specific reference to additional spending on the M62.

Accelerating improvements to the M62 – The government will provide an additional £161 million to Highways England to accelerate the delivery of two major projects to upgrade the M62 to a four-lane smart motorway between junction 10-12 Warrington to Eccles and junction 20-25 Rochdale to Brighouse.

2017-18 Key Project Starts:

  • Smart Motorway on the M62 J10-12 (Manchester – Warrington)
  • £210m Smart Motorway on M60 J8 – M62 J20

2019-20 Key Project Starts:

  • Smart Motorway on the M62 J20-25 (Leeds – Manchester)
  • M62/M606 Chain Bar in Bradford
  • M62 J10-12, M60 J24-27 & J1-4 South of Manchester Smart Motorway

Additional articles

Northern Powerhouse Infrastructure timeline