NOVEL APPROACH TO AIRPORT PLAN
HIGHWAYS bosses creating a major new road have had to devise a novel way to get rid of a huge mountain of dirt.
The construction of the Manchester Airport relief road is set to create 340,000 tonnes of earth – far more than was originally expected.
With nowhere currently for the soil to go, it was planned the surplus would be driven off site but the disposal for the unexpected material would cost more than £3m.
So transport bosses are now planning to landscape the soil into a series of hills – some more than 30ft high.
The three councils who are jointly building the bypass, which will run from the A6 in Hazel Grove to the M56 via the existing A555 in Bramhall, say this will create an ● attractive grasscovered roadside feature.
The excavated soil has currently been deposited into giant mounds – known as bunds – close to the £300m road and even interwoven into its central reservation.
But as work has progressed it has become apparent that a massive amount of earth, on top of what was predicted, will need to be removed.
So a plan has been put together to create eight new bunds, as well as add to nine already there, at an estimated cost of £1.1m.
A report by consultants AECOM says: “Some of the earthwork material currently in place is unsuitable for use in constructing the road and has led to a further surplus of earthwork material.
“In total, 340,000 tonnes of surplus earthworks material remain. Consideration has been given to how this surplus of material can be managed.
“Having identified the long list of potential locations, a high-level environmental assessment was undertaken in order to identify environmental constraints and opportunities presented by each location.”
A planning application for two of the selected sites, both near Kitts Moss, Bramhall, has been submitted to Stockport council. It will be the first of 11.
Some of the applications will seek to turn temporary large piles of soil into permanent ones.
Consideration had been given to disposing of the earth off site but this was ruled out as it would cost £3.2m and require 19,000 lorry journeys.
The bunds would be in the greenbelt and are considered ‘inappropriate development’. But it is argued special circumstances apply to override this as permission is fundamental to the completion of the bypass.
Mounds of earth excavated during the building of the Manchester Airport relief road will be turned into hills and, inset, an artist’s impression of the relief road