MP says "there must be plans in place to deal with the aftermath" as bypass flooded again


The A34 Alderley Edge Bypass has been closed again because of flooding.

Following heavy rainfall over the weekend the A34 Melrose Way was closed in both directions from Sunday evening until mid-morning on Tuesday, 30th June.

However, just over 24 hours later the bypass has been closed again in both directions due to flooding.

A spokesperson for Cheshire East Council said "Please allow extra travel time and plan your journey in advance. We're working to clear the network as soon as possible, thanks for your patience during this time."

Tatton MP Esther McVey said: "The last few days have seen unprecedented levels of rainfall and while it is a natural phenomenon and nothing can be done to stop the rainfall, there must be plans in place to deal with the aftermath and pump the water away as soon as possible.

"I have written to Cheshire East Council asking them to update me on what measures they have in place to deal with the rising water levels and how they plan to manage the situation both while the rain continues to fall and once it stops.

"Today I also raised the issue with ministerial colleagues at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and briefed them on the situation in and around Wilmslow.

"I highlighted my concerns about flooding on the A555 (Stockport Council) Airport Road and the A34 Alderley Edge Bypass, both comparatively new roads and expressed my concerns how they were designed in such a way this should happen. I do know a number of other roads are also affected either because of the volume of top water, rivers bursting their banks or sink holes appearing and we also need to ensure plans are in place to get those roads back open as soon as possible.

"I would like to thank our excellent emergency services who have rescued people in the past days and are continuing to work around the clock to keep us safe."

Photo courtesy of Rupert Cornford, Story Publishing, taken on Monday, 29th July, on a bridge above the AE bypass near Sossmoss / Nursey Lane.

Alderley Edge Bypass


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Kelvin Briggs
Wednesday 31st July 2019 at 4:45 pm
Cheshire East Council and Birse Civils received many awards for the original bypass construction.

North West Transportation Project of the Year 2010 at the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation Awards and at the Builder & Engineer Awards 2010, the prestigious Builder & Engineer Civil/Highway, project of the Year .

Not sure if there any awards for ongoing 'excellence in bypass and pump maintenance' for projects costing over £52M but they won't be winning this year.

With 20km of drainage on the bypass and two pumping stations, one installed at Brook Lane, to remove surface water from the carriageway, and another pumping station at Welsh Row, one would have hoped they would have managed some heavy rain.

I wonder what lessons were learnt from the September 2012 flooding of the same area?
Fiona Doorbar
Wednesday 31st July 2019 at 5:38 pm
This is a joke! The contractors should be fined or at least never considered for tender again. Hope that all the excess water will be collected and recycled. Knowing this country if we have a dry spell next month we will shout drought!
Tony Haluradivth
Wednesday 31st July 2019 at 5:50 pm
If Esther McVey reads this... thank you for raising this. The 2 targets to go for are Andrew Ross (head of Highways) and Ringway Jacobs who receive a tidy sum of our Council Tax for doing the bare minimum. They have had the contract to supply Highway services for years and CEC just renewed it for another stretch. As other comments made to CEC on Twitter reveal, the pumps wont work unless they ARE MAINTAINED. This means periodic removal of silt to ensure they work. They do not maintain them or inspect them on a regular basis I don't want to read "lessons will be learned" over this I want to see our Council take robust action and fine Ringway Jacob for dereliction of duty. If Craig Browne is reading th8s I would welcome his views (Craig I cannot email you directly as I am having trouble with my gmail at the moment) so will have to communicate via this thread)
Craig Browne
Wednesday 31st July 2019 at 6:41 pm
Hi Tony,

I did see your comment, although there is not a great deal that I wish to add; partly because most of it has been said already and partly because the section of the bypass in question is not actually in my ward. We have seen highly unusual levels of rainfall over the last few days and clearly many of our local gullies have struggled to cope; however, full closure of the bypass has been a relatively rare occurrence since it opened in 2011.

It is clear that the road bed was constructed below the water table at this particular location. This was to take it underneath the West Coast Mainline; the only other option would have been to construct a large flyover in the middle of the green belt, which would have had a detrimental impact on the open countryside and resulted in objections from the residents of Nether Alderley as well as from Nether Alderley Parish Council.

Kind regards,
Fiona Braybrooke
Wednesday 31st July 2019 at 9:12 pm
I would like to add that as we are all aware of the carnage on the roads currently. I appreciate that the closure of Dean Row road and Adlington Road has not helped the area with anyone trying to get around not just the A34 Alderley Bypass but also the newly constructed A555 link road between the A6 and Manchester Airport. For these major roads to be closed for this length of time must ask a very serious question as to how this major problem is resolved and a major investment is made to maintain and update the current pumping stations. We are not living in a third world and the highways agency and who constructed these roads shou,d be taken to task
Verity Williams
Wednesday 31st July 2019 at 10:09 pm
Please could someone answer the far more compelling question - how did that car get there? Did they abandon it when the water level was lower or did they drive it in that deep in one go?
Tony Haluradivth
Thursday 1st August 2019 at 7:07 am
Craig thanks so much for the speedy response. Yes it does seem that owing to a few wealthy nimbies with influence in Nether Alderley we now have this situation along with a very incompetent drainage engineering firm Aecom who worked with Birse Civils on the project the same company was employed on the A555 MARR disaster. That is Aecom in Altrincham again folks and a Mr Martin Houghton connected with both projects. I do believe in naming and shaming well paid folk in the industry (especially those who boast on their website about meaningless awards given for the 2 above disasters).
Yvonne Bentley
Thursday 1st August 2019 at 2:27 pm
Tony, could you please elaborate on your comment “a few wealthy nimbies with influence in Nether Alderley”.
Tony Haluradivth
Thursday 1st August 2019 at 11:38 pm
Yvonne the bypass was contested, delayed and held up for a long period of time as certain residents did not want to see the new road raised. The bypass had been on the cards since the 1920's so when those folks bought their properties the searches would have revealed this. The same residents in Nether Alderley who complained and campaigned against having the bypass built... now benefit from much queiter roads as the old A34 became downgraded and they did not have to plant higher hedges to screen their views as the flyover, (which was a logical design for the bypass ) was rejected. They put up a loud and vociferous fight and got their "cake and ate it".
Yvonne Bentley
Friday 2nd August 2019 at 9:48 am
Tony, as Craig pointed out, this is the first time that the bypass has closed since 2011 so does that mean that it was the wrong decision.
Tony Haluradivth
Saturday 3rd August 2019 at 12:14 pm
It means that it needs constant maintenance of the pumps. Closing twice in 3 days is not good and we DID have to wait a long time for the road and we got a different kind of road in the end because of the constant objections and obstruction from some in Nether Alderley (who have actually now benefit from the bypass) how is that "cake" you have been eating up there in Nether Alderley Yvonne? ;))
Yvonne Bentley
Saturday 3rd August 2019 at 4:46 pm
Tony, I am not certain that your personal attack on me is necessary( or warranted) nor your bitterness towards residents of Nether Alderley enjoying the benefits of road improvement is healthy or constructive.
Tony Haluradivth
Sunday 4th August 2019 at 5:49 pm
Yvonne I stand by my comment re "a few wealthy Nimbies in Nether Alderley" . You responded immediately it wasn't a personal attack but if you chose to regard
at it thus.... well then I apologise. The comment re the cake was a joke (hence the wink symbol) ...we are still allowed jokes in this country are we not ? Everything else I stated about the bypass (delays and objections is factual ) I have no idea if you are a wealthy Nimby Yvonne and I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume yhat you are an elected spokesperson for the good folk of NA
David Smith
Tuesday 6th August 2019 at 3:54 pm
Doesn't (shouldn't?) everything come with a warranty? I suppose as long as the bypass was constructed in accordance with the design that the architects/engineers came up with then the construction company has nothing to answer for. If the architects could be proven to have NOT followed whatever guidelines/rules/regulations they must follow when engaging with projects like this then they surely are at fault and can be sued or whatever. However I reckon it would be such a minefield to get to the bottom of all the reasons that a bout of heavy rain has put it out of action and probably caused a bit of damage. In the end - or really the beginning - if Cheshire East was staffed by experienced Highways engineers or construction/building experts they might on behalf of the ratepayers had some say in the design that would have averted the road being flooded in heavy rain. Perhaps there were such expert ‘overseers’ on this project. If so please can someone ask them ‘what happened then?’?.
David Smith
Tuesday 6th August 2019 at 8:09 pm
Oh, and as to the car that was trying to be a submarine - what usually happens is that when the water level is sufficiently high it can get sucked into the air intake/filter and then inside the engine cylinders themselves. Once this happens your engine is as good as scrapped because whereas an air/fuel mixture can be compressed in the normal combustion cycle, a fluid such as water CANNOT. The result is that the forces within the engine are so great as to break the pistons, con rods, block and split the cylinder head = COMPLETE NEW ENGINE. It's not just a case of the electrics 'shorting out' and stopping working or water ‘getting in the fuel’ - the engine is knackered and so too is the interior after a while under water. If any mechanic can describe some actual engine catastrophes of driving into water then please let us all know.
Someone once told me what to do when encountering a patch of water on a road. Their advice was to drive at speed at the water so as to come out the other side! Well, following on from my previous suggestion of messing up the engine, there are other reasons that THIS ADVICE SHOULD NEVER BE FOLLOWED. You don’t know how deep the water is so when your engine conks out your car may be stopped in water that is deep enough (as in the case of the stranded car in the bypass photo) to have you swimming to safety - assuming you can swim. What about any passengers - an elderly person, a young baby or children all of which may be seated in the back of a two door car and can’t get out until the front doors are open. Then the water is cold and smelly and panic can set in. Dark too? Do you then have sufficient lifeguard skills to rescue your loved ones? Ironically any dog with you will be fine, think it’s rather fun and swim to safety.
Another reason not to go at the water at high speed assuming the water is only a couple of inches (2.54mm) deep is AQUAPLANING. Look it up on the Internet via the links below and understand it. It can happen on a moderately wet road in ‘normal’ conditions. The water is forced under the tyres and you then have no steering ability. This means the car will go wherever the forces that are acting on it will take you. This could be into the kerb and have you roll over, into another car coming the other way (head-on collision) or into a tree/lamppost/other structure. So if you ABSOLUTELY, DESPERATELY MUST try and get through a puddle slow right down and proceed very, very slowly with a door partially open so as to monitor the depth and know when it is time to stop and reverse.

Aquaplaning links:

..., and this could be you in a blue car with YOUR family inside - got to get home to catch the start of the football or Coronation Street.

LEARN what you do not know and look after YOUR PASSENGERS!
Malcolm Elliott
Tuesday 6th August 2019 at 9:27 pm
Had we had a bridge over the railway we would not have had troubled waters.
Charlie Gaughan
Wednesday 7th August 2019 at 11:57 pm
Its not just the contractors its some of the residents who didn't want to see the bypass so protested to get it lower on the horizon chickens come home to roost from day one its been a disaster we all new where it was going to flood there has been enough problems with the pumping station enough people took compensation give it back