Pendleton Way section of A34 bypass will reopen this week


Update: 23rd December

As many local residents will have noticed the northbound section of the A34 Wilmslow bypass named Pendleton remains closed today and has not been opened as we were informed.

I am currently awaiting another update from Cheshire East Council.

The northbound carriageway of the A34 Wilmslow bypass will reopen between Prestbury Road and Alderley Road later this week.

Pendleton Way has been shut for nearly two weeks since Storm Barra brought severe winds and heavy rain on Wednesday 8th December.

Councillor Craig Browne, Deputy Leader of the Council and Chair of the Highways and Transport Committee has confirmed to that this section of the northbound carriageway will reopen on the evening of Wednesday, 22nd December.

He said "The delay has been due to the need to install concrete barrier protection, as a result of which both northbound lanes will be narrowed and have a reduced speed restriction whilst the temporary pumps are in place. Contractors will be installing the barrier protection over the course of the next two days.

"The long term solution is likely to be both complex and costly, involving the replacement of the existing pumping station. The pumps failed as a
result of a fallen tree obstructing Whitehall Brook and causing the pumping chambers themselves to become flooded, which in turn caused the equipment to
short circuit. In every other respect, the pumps were serviced and in working order."

He added "I thank everyone for their continued patience and would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a peaceful and restful Christmas period."

A34 Bypass


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

Stuart Redgard
Monday 20th December 2021 at 10:53 pm
I understand that Councillor Craig Browne is only the messenger and has "no control" over what actually happens and he depends on being properly and correctly briefed by council officers.

His latest update provides a clearer picture of what happened and a statement on intent. ie

"the northbound carriageway will reopen on the evening of Wednesday, 22nd December"

Previous updates from on this saga include :

A number of local roads remain closed today due to flooding overnight.
These include
A34 Wilmslow Bypass between Prestbury Road and Alderley Road
A spokesperson for Cheshire East Council said "We're working to make these roads safe so that they can be reopened – please bear with us and plan your journey."

I have contacted CE Highways for an update and would like to share the following information with everyone. As a result of the sheer volume of rainwater we have experienced locally following the two recent storms, the pumping station that serves the northbound carriageway has failed and is damaged beyond repair (the pumping station is serviced regularly under contract with a third party). CE Highways are looking to temporarily resolve the issue by installing mobile pumps; however, this will involve a short to medium term closure of one of the two northbound lanes. A decision on whether to reopen Pendleton Way will be taken tomorrow afternoon (Tuesday); however, this is dependent upon no further significant rainfall overnight. I will provide a further update as soon as I am able to, but thank everyone for their patience in the meantime. - Craig Browne

I met officers from CE Highways on-site at Pendleton Way earlier this evening. The carriageway is now clear of floodwater and has been swept of debris. This afternoon, officers have been pumping water out of the attenuation tanks (down to approx. 6m) to free up capacity in case of further heavy rainfall. The arrival of temporary pumps is expected tomorrow and once they are fully functional, Pendleton Way will reopen but with a single lane closure heading north (both southbound lanes will be reopened). - Craig Browne

"I am pleased to provide a further update on the closure of Pendleton Way. The arrival of mobile pumps is expected imminently; however, in order to make them secure, they will need to be sited in container units which in turn will require a single lane closure of the northbound carriageway. Once these pumps are on site, have been tested, and are working satisfactorily, Pendleton Way will be reopened (expected tomorrow.) - Craig Browne

I am pleased to confirm that the southbound carriageway of Pendleton Way has reopened this evening. CE Highways engineers are working hard to have at least one lane of the northbound carriageway open tomorrow. - Craig Browne

Craig Browne confirmed that the northbound carriageway will reopen on the evening of Wednesday, 22nd December.

One or both of the following is happening.
1) Councillor Craig Browne is NOT being properly and correctly briefed by council officers.
2) Councillor Craig Browne is NOT correctly relaying the information he is being provided with.

I suspect it's more likely to be option 1 than 2.
Marcus Holt
Tuesday 21st December 2021 at 12:57 pm
Or how about option 3 and that at each stage that was updated the council genuinely believed the actions they advised were going to happen???

Obviously its easy to just believe a council are making it up, they could quite easily have said "we have no firm update and therefore we are making no comment until it reopens" but i suspect that would have been met with moaning as well.

Hopefully it will be reopen tomorrow as planned and I can get out my garage (those that know about Heyes Lane are using it as the unofficial diversion for the northbound so still ridiculously busy) but if it doesn't, then it doesn't.....
Donald Strathdee
Tuesday 21st December 2021 at 4:00 pm
The need for a concrete barrier certainly in the short term is questionable.
Strange how the M25 can have miles of barrier installed without inconveniencing users.
Plastic cones are regularly used to close a carriageway in this section of road and could have been used here.
Those responsible are a disgrace and had no consideration for the thousands of people stuck in their cars.
Tony Haluradivth
Tuesday 21st December 2021 at 8:31 pm
Well done Stuart...thanks for reposting those empty promises (which were themselves made by Highway officers and Council officials). When this flooding first occurred there really WAS no sense of urgency on the part of CEC as evidenced by your observations in the area and other locals who took walks past the scene and saw no work being done or 2 people on site
Stuart Redgard
Tuesday 21st December 2021 at 10:19 pm
#Marcus Holt

Yes, there are plenty more options that I could have put.

Regarding Heyes Lane. It is an adopted highway, and there are no access limitations signposted other than for vehicles over 7.5 Ton. So every other type of vehicle can use it all of the time. As the route along Heyes Lane is not signposted as a diversion, then I can only assume that it is locals with local knowledge who are using it.

Earlier today I was walking down Fulshaw Park South and spoke with a police officer who was there stopping and speaking to the drivers entering the road from Alderley Road. He was there to impose the access restrictions on this road. I observed numerous vehicles access it from Alderley Road and then do a u-turn after the officer had spoken to them. I can only assume they were locals with local knowledge trying to avoid the long queue of traffic on Alderley Road which is the signposted diversion.
Andy Brown
Wednesday 22nd December 2021 at 9:58 am
Perhaps we can rebrand Alderley Edge and Wilmslow as the Venice of the North and trade our Range Rovers in for gondolas.
Tony Haluradivth
Wednesday 22nd December 2021 at 3:06 pm
Am sitting in my Grandson's car at 4.30 pm ...we are in gridlock and Pendleton Way is NOT open and according to CEC Highways contact centre is NOT opening tonight apparently. Just as well parties are out of favour and just as well Highways do not organise parties in Breweries because if they did they would be a huge failure. I feel bad because I told the lad it should be opened late afternoon. Folk have wasted many hours STUCK in gridlock this last 3 weeks. Over to Councillir Brown for yet ANOTHER update...
Sally Hirst
Wednesday 22nd December 2021 at 4:57 pm
Please could I put forward some questions to the engineers.
The pumps (plural) short circuited, both? Why did no fuse/protective device deploy as with most electrical items? Garden pumps for ponds are usually submerged, I do understand we are talking FAR larger pumps but it does seem odd that a pump can’t cope with water.
Why can it not be repaired if all the other parts were “serviced and in working order” especially when we are being encouraged to recycle?
Why is the solution likely to be “complex and costly”?
Whitehall Brook is underestimated. As a main artery for water to flow around Alderley Edge it was considered important enough in the past to be used as the boundary. It too flows under the railway and, from studying the OS map, it appears to flow under 2 points of the A34. The OS map 268 of this area shows Whitehall Brook splitting by the railway bridge. Did the new development site next to the A34 take into account that the stream needed to be kept in order for the drainage to work? The size of lake that appeared on the building site suggests that this was not addressed. There was an embankment between the stream at Harefield House and the A34, this was removed for the development, was there a failure in the survey as to the importance of the topography?
This important Brook also needs to be maintained beyond this point on its journey.
And finally, where was the tree that obstructed Whitehall Brook?
Kind regards from a fascinated villager.
David Smith
Wednesday 22nd December 2021 at 7:43 pm
Well said, Sally. Some pertinent critical observations at last and most of what I was thinking and formulating to put forward as to why and how this all came to pass.
You don't have a civil/highways engineering qualification by any chance?
I don't think you'll receive any explanation from the 'boys' at Cheshire East or amongst our councillor brigade since it might appear that your level of deduction and mental gymnastics could be beyond most of them.
Exceptions to this are invited, of course, to step forward and reply.
Stuart Redgard
Wednesday 22nd December 2021 at 7:48 pm
We were told that the road "will reopen on the evening of Wednesday, 22nd December."

It hasn't, so I sent the following email to Craig Browne at 21:03
Dear Craig
Following on from your Facebook page post of approx 3:00 pm today, are you able to offer an explanation as to why the A34 has NOT been reopened today as planned.
Following a walk up there this evening at about 7:30 pm only one of the two pumps was actually working and the 2nd pump drainage pipe into Whitehall Brook was also incomplete. There was also no speed restriction signage in place."

I immediately received an automated response as follows:

Thank you for your email.

Please note that I am now on leave until Thursday 6th January 2022. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a peaceful and restful Christmas and all the best for the New Year.
Kind regards,
I hope he updates his Facebook page before 6th January to explain why the road has not reopened as he said it would.

He is only the messenger and not the organ grinder, but it really does seem that one or more of the following is happening.

1) Councillor Craig Browne is NOT being properly and correctly briefed by council officers.
2) Councillor Craig Browne is NOT correctly relaying the information he is being provided with.
3) or something completely different.
Alan Brough
Wednesday 22nd December 2021 at 8:42 pm
@Sally Hirst,

Ive got my popcorn ready.

Christmas viewing just got much more interesting.
Alan Brough
Wednesday 22nd December 2021 at 8:53 pm
As per the report elsewhere on this site, I hope that no one will say cruel and horrid things to CE Council people because they are really working hard to gather our Council Tax
Stuart Redgard
Wednesday 22nd December 2021 at 10:50 pm
#Sally Hirst

I am a chartered electrical engineer and a member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). This is the professional institution that was created in 2006 from the merger of the Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE) and the Institution of Incorporated Engineers (IIE).

Your question: "Why did no fuse/protective device deploy as with most electrical items?" is a valid one. The simple answer is that it should have, but it would appear that it did not before the damage took place.

It’s not possible to say why without having sight of the design and installation drawings. However, it would appear that there may have been faults in the design which have only just come to light because of this incident. As more than 12 years have passed since the pumps were installed then it is not possible to make a claim against the “warranty” that the designers would have had to provide as part of their appointment.

The pumps although located underground, may not have actually been submersible but located higher than the maximum level to which the water was expected to rise. If the pumps were pumping water back into the section of Whitehall Brook that had become blocked by the tree then they will have just been pumping the water back into the drainage chamber. This would have then caused the chamber to overfill and “raise the alarm” that Craig Browne has mentioned. In this case, the pumps themselves could have been submerged in water. If they were not designed to be submerged in water then this is what will have caused the short circuit.

The short circuit will have burned out internal wiring in the pumps but should not have caused any other damage. The motor windings will need replacing which cannot be done on-site. As such it is quicker just to order a replacement pump. In “normal business” operations (ie prior to covid and Brexit) this would be at least 6 to 8 weeks delivery from order, then they would have to be installed and tested. But it will probably now be a lot longer due to Covid & Brexit.

On Saturday 18th December I went for a walk up the northbound carriageway. What I found shocked me! The control cabinet for the pumping station had been left unlocked and I was able to gain access and take a look inside. First and foremost, the control cabinet should NOT have been left unlocked. This is a failure in Health & Safety working practice. Secondly, I observed evidence that there had been an overcurrent (fault) that had burnt out control and instrumentation cabling and equipment. The electrical supply had been turned off but not “locked” off with a padlock. This again is a failure in Health & Safety working practice. I left the equipment untouched just as I had found it.

Earlier this evening, I again went for a walk up the northbound carriageway. What I found shocked me again! There was no change in the control cabinet. It was still left unlocked and the electrical supply had not been “locked” off with a padlock.

I have therefore lodged a complaint with the council this evening about this breach in health & safety working practice.

I hope this has helped you to gain more of an understanding.
Sally Hirst
Thursday 23rd December 2021 at 11:29 am
To Stuart
Thank you for your reply.
Old and new maps have a wealth of information. Plus, knowledge from residents who have watched the village evolve is so fascinating. The stories I could tell, but this is about the A34. I’m still keen to know where that tree came down?
On a lighter festive note, wild water swimming is becoming so popular. If this becomes an annual Christmas event we could have a fancy dress swim for charity on the closed A34! Merry Christmas
Roy West
Thursday 23rd December 2021 at 11:35 am
Well done Stuart, we could benefit by having more good neighbours who are prepared to look into the situation if they have the relevant qualifications. Perhaps we will now get the investigation that we deserve to lay the blame where it belongs!
Tony Haluradivth
Thursday 23rd December 2021 at 3:34 pm
Thanks for the Detective work Stuart Redgard. Unbelievable sloppiness from Highways which they repeatedly deny. It would be great to hear from ANY local Councillor about this and perhaps to tell us what is happenning . The TTRO expires tomorrow which might possibly make it a null and void or illegal road closure if someone forgets to renew it ;)))
Merry Christmas one and all xxxx