Although utility diversions and ecological management works started last month, the official VIP sod cutting photocall took placed this week, with the local council leader, MP and the transport minister visiting the site.
The 5.5km (3.5 mile) Congleton Link Road is designed to reduce town centre traffic and unlock key sites for housing and development. It will link the A536 Macclesfield Road to the north with the A534 Sandbach Road to the west.
To mitigate the impact, Cheshire East Council is creating six new ponds and planting more than 10 hectares of woodland and shrubs including 381 new trees, 16km of hedgerows and 33 hectares of new grassland.
Client Cheshire East Council is contributing £24m towards the construction project, with the balance coming from central government and developer contributions.
Council leader Rachel Bailey said: “This is the biggest capital project the council has ever done; and it is a credit to the strategic infrastructure team and all those involved that we have managed to deliver this scheme from just a concept in 2012 to where we are today, about to start work, just a few years later, I know it has been challenging at times. This must be some sort of a record for a highway scheme, some of which can take 20 years to deliver.”
Transport minister Jesse Norman MP said: “Cheshire and Warrington have among the best performing economies in England and this scheme will help maintain that dynamism. The link road will not just cut journey times, it will improve air quality for residents.”