Just before the Autumn Statement, the government announced details for an ambitious road building project in the North West. As work continues to jam up junctions 8 and 18 of the M60, businesses are growing increasingly concerned about the prospect of new roadworks.
One local car servicing business that is actually benefiting from these traffic problems is Aycen Group.
“We’re seeing more and more businesses turn to us because of the snarl-up on Manchester’s roads” explains Alan Locke of Aycen, a local car servicing firm who specialise in collect-and-return small fleet and personal care. “Even before the roadworks, it’s always been important to me, as a business owner, to ensure that our end-to-end service keeps workers at their desks rather than stuck in traffic. Now it’s more important than ever.”
Alan added: “Our customers really appreciate that extra personal service we provide in collecting and delivering them and their vehicles.
After improvements to junctions 12 and 15 were shelved last year, the City’s growing problems with congestion seemed insurmountable. The government hopes that the new plans, which include a Mottram bypass and a strategic study into issues around Trafford and Salford, will break the deadlock and get traffic moving again.
Train and tram use is also increasing, although overcrowding on the West Coast Main Line has been problematic.
But what happens in the meantime?
“Simple answer? More roadworks,” continues Alan. “It’s something that our customers are getting very concerned about. Many of them already have to sit in traffic on the way into Manchester and have to sit in traffic again whenever they’re out and about. It’s just not time or cost-efficient for anyone.”
The government’s £15Bn road plans have been welcomed by businesses in the long term, especially in Manchester. In the short term, however, further road disruption for North West firms looks to be inevitable.