|To:||West Heath, Congleton (SJ846630)|
|Length:||37.3 miles (60 km)|
|Meets:||A5152, B5100, A5156, B5130, B5102, A41, A5016, A49, A51, B5341, A5078, A5019, A532, A5020, B5077, B5079, A533, M6, A5022, A50, A34, A54|
|Old route now:||B5341, B5338|
|Route outline (key)|
The A534 is a major east-west route in south Cheshire.
Section 1: Wrexham – Farndon
The road now starts on the A5152 at the beginning of Holt Road, although at one time it did meet the A525. After a mile we come to the edge of the town, passing the B5100 (which used to be A class, number unknown) on the left at Rhosnesi island. Next on the left is the A5156 "Link Road" which takes the A534's traffic away from the centre and over to he A483 western bypass.
The link road is primary, as is the A534 from now on, and dual, as are we until the next roundabout at the hamlet of Llan-y-pwll (ah, something Welsh-sounding!). The dual carriageway then continues on ahead along the unclassified road into the industrial estate and we bear left onto an unimproved road. At Holt there's a staggered junction with the B5130 south/B5102, at the start of the bypass. The A534 used to go through Holt and Farndon, crossing between the two on a well-known (approx. 16th century) bridge over the Dee. This bridge was fought over in the Civil War, and bullet marks can still be seen on the wall of Farndon church nearby. (The place is probably better known though for being the home of a Mr Paul Burrell.) The mile-long bypass with its new bridge wasn't built until about 1990. At its end, now in England, we meet the B5130 north.
Section 2: Farndon – Nantwich Bypass
Now it's a not especially eventful 15 miles more or less due east across the Cheshire Plain to Nantwich, passing through the little villages of Barton, Clutton, Bulkeley, Faddiley and Burland. At Broxton we meet the A41 at an old roundabout and at Ridley Green there's a 400 m duplex with the A49. Linking the A534 to the A49 north is one of the shortest A roads in Britain: the A5016, about 150 yards long. The route's not entirely flat: at Gallantry Bank (halfway between the A41 and A49) the road climbs (to 472ft/144 m) through a gap in the Mid-Cheshire Ridge. After crossing the Shropshire Union Canal over the Wrexham Bridge at Burland (spot the windmill on the right) the road TOTSOs left onto a formerly unclassified lane (Cuckoo Lane) which has been upgraded to lead us onto the Nantwich bypass.
The road used instead to go straight on along Monks Lane into Acton. The A534 was later rerouted via the Burford island junction with the A51 into Acton and Nantwich. This is the non-primary old course of the A51 into Nantwich. The A534 used to duplex with it, but later had the road all to itself. This little stretch into Nantwich has now been renumbered B5341 and the A534 avoids town completely by multiplexing along the bypass.
Section 3: Nantwich Bypass – Crewe
The road leaves the A51 north-eastern bypass at another roundabout (the old road out of town is now the B5338) and continues through the leafy villages-cum-suburbs of Willaston and Wistaston into Crewe.
The road passes south of the town centre itself, the A5078 forming a link to it, meeting the A534 at a signal-controlled crossroads; the turning south is the B5071 Gresty Road, famous (?!) as the location of Crewe Alexandra FC. 100 yards further on the A534 crosses the West Coast Main Line at Crewe Station, beyond which is the A532 island. There follow 800 yards of dual carriageway and another island at the entrances of the Manchester Metropolitan University campus and the business park. Then a 500-yard ironed-out section to where the road meets the A5020 and B5077 at the notorious signalised roundabout at Crewe Green. Despite its quite recent introduction, this roundabout and traffic lights complex is flagged for a rethink when Cheshire East council can assemble the necessary funds. Until the Haslington bypass was built in the 1990s the A534 went right here, through Crewe Green and Haslington village.
Section 4: Crewe – Congleton
The next 5 miles of road is all "new" – the Haslington, Wheelock, and Sandbach bypasses – much of it in shallow cuttings. The "old road" was all declassified, leaving the B5079 in Wheelock "dangling". Halfway along, the new road crosses the old at a roundabout near Wheelock Heath. The road meets the A533 West at a roundabout in Sandbach and there's a 200-yard duplex before the signal-controlled crossroad-junction with the A533 East. At this point the "bypass" is within 200 yards of the historic core of the town.
As it leaves Sandbach the road picks up its original course and crosses the M6 at the totally inadequate junction. However improvements are coming in May 2014, even though still inadequate for the high volume peak traffic demand. Just beyond this, the A5022 meets at a give-way T-junction. The mile to the hamlet of Arclid is narrow, dark and bendy, passing Taxmere (a sand-quarry lake) on the left. At Arclid the road crosses the A50 at a signal-controlled crossroads, then there is 4 miles of reasonably good road to Congleton. Good, that is, apart from the sharp bend at Wall Hill, where the house on the corner has had a lorry through the front window on more than one occasion. Entering the town the speed limit is 40 mph for about 600 yards. The give-way fork junction with the A34 was replaced in 2003 with a roundabout serving the A534, A34 and A54. The proposed Congleton Relief Road will take all Manchester (A34), Macclesfield (A536) traffic away to the west of the town and will come as much needed relief to the beleaguered citizens, assuming it ever gets built.