Highways England said that two major new road schemes worth more than £300 million are set to cut congestion and improve journey times for drivers in Merseyside and Cheshire.
Detailed designs for both major road projects will now be developed, with construction work due to start by spring 2020.
Funding for the schemes is being provided as part of the UK Government’s £15 billion Road Investment Strategy (RIS) and will help boost the Northern Powerhouse and the economy of the North.
Highways England has set out its preferred options for upgrading the route to the Port of Liverpool and creating a new junction on the M56 near Runcorn following public consultations earlier this year.
A new three-mile dual carriageway between the motorway network and the port will take freight away from residential areas on the A5036, which has been identified as being the tenth most congested road in England.
The bypass will serve the existing port as well as the new £300 million deep-water container terminal, which is expected to triple the port’s volume of goods by 2030.
The new junction 11a on the M56 will also play a vital role in supporting the region’s economy by providing a new link to the Mersey Gateway bridge between Runcorn and Widnes, and improving local access to the motorway.
Tim Gamon, Highways England’s regional delivery director for the North West, said: “Both these major road schemes will help to bring significant economic benefits to the North West and we’re now at the stage where we can set out our preferred options for the projects.
“The new bypass will take the existing traffic away from the A5036 as well as managing the significant increase in vehicle numbers that are anticipated with the port’s growth.
“We’re also committed to making improvements to the existing A5036 as part of the scheme that will benefit people who live and work in the area.
“The new junction on the M56 will also benefit local residents by taking traffic away from residential areas as well as providing a new route to the Mersey Gateway bridge – an important new link between Cheshire and Merseyside.”
The new £250 million dual carriageway bypass through the Rimrose Valley will connect Princess Way to Broom’s Cross Road.
A new roundabout, controlled by traffic lights, will also be built at the junction connecting Broom’s Cross Road, Brickwall Lane and the new bypass.
And Broom’s Cross Road will be upgraded to a dual carriageway from the new roundabout to Switch Island, where the A5036 connects with the M57 and M58.
The new £60 million M56 junction will be built between junctions 11 and 12, and will provide a more direct route to the M56 from south Runcorn as well as connecting to the Mersey Gateway bridge.
The junction will link to a new crossroads for the A533 Southern Expressway and Murdishaw Avenue, north of the motorway.
The crossroads will replace the existing roundabout and be controlled by traffic lights, which will use sensors in the road to respond to changes in traffic levels.