THE old A556 has been reopened following a £5 million upgrade – with a dedicated route for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders.

Following the opening of the new A556 Knutsford to Bowdon bypass in March, Highways England has converted the old route into the B5569 – a 5.4km road which will be operated by Cheshire East Council.

Tatton MP Esther McVey cut the ribbon to unveil the new road on Friday, November 3, alongside key officials from Highways England and CEC, plus parish and town councillors.

Paul Hampson, project manager at Highways England, said: “This is a significant milestone for the Knutsford to Bowdon project – a result of our determination to deliver a lasting legacy for local people following the completion of the new dual carriageway.

“We would like to thank local people for their patience since March when the conversion work started in earnest.

“We hope they agree the new dedicated route for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders as well as the new single carriageway B road and new junction arrangements at Bucklow Hill and Mere have been well worth the wait.”

Work to convert the old A556 has included turning the old northbound carriageway into a dedicated green route for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.

The 4m-wide route is separated from the new B road by a wide border, planted with wild flowers.

Meanwhile, the old two-lane southbound carriageway has become a B road with a single lane in each direction.

New drainage along the new route, new junction layouts at Bucklow Hill and Mere, and a Pegasus crossing to assist horse riders at the junction between the green route and the A50 have also been completed.

Su Russell, chairman of CycleKnutsford, was delighted to be invited to the opening of the first designated cycleway in Cheshire – and she hopes the ‘landmark’ route will be followed by many more across the county.

“CycleKnutsford members can’t wait to get out on their bikes and explore the new safe segregated cycleway,” she said.