Motorists may have been stuck in long queues and endless diversions – but Blackpool’s road transformation has won high praise.
Blackpool Council’s ‘Project 30’ – a £30m revamp of 40 miles of roads and footpaths across the town – has helped the authority win the crown of the most improved organisation in the National Highway and Transport survey into public satisfaction in the highways.
It beat 77 other local authorities to the gong.
Project 30 saw more than 600 roads and 300 pavements resurfaced across every ward in Blackpool, with at least £1.25m spent in each area of the resort, a council spokesman said.
Around 70,000 responded to the survey which found public satisfaction in the condition of Blackpool roads had gone up by 9.9 per cent, with praise on the speed at which the works were carried out up by 8.9 per cent and the quality of work by 6.6 per cent.
On top of Project 30, 16,000 streetlights and 100 traffic signals have now been replaced as part of a private finance initiative contract with the Community Lighting Partnership.
The praise comes on the backdrop of a raft of complaints from motorists over road improvements across the resort.
Councillors said they had been inundated with concerns since changes were made to traffic signals and junction at the corner of St Annes Road and Watson Road, in South Shore earlier this year.
It also took almost 12 months for transport bosses to fix a ‘ocal’ sign painted on the road on Church Street, Blackpool, while the council was forced to delay revamp work on Yeadon Way from September to November after hoteliers cried foul, insisting closing the main tourist route into Blackpool during the Illuminations season would severely damage them.
None of these projects were part of Project 30.
Coun John Jones, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “A few years ago roads were breaking up and our lighting columns were reaching the end of their life.
“At that time, the council made a choice to invest in the town’s infrastructure, to repair and replace and as such has protect the town’s highway network for the next 25 years.
“We are currently taking a similar approach with Yeadon Way by fixing the problem before the road has to close permanently. While frustrating for drivers in the short term there is no better alternative and our work there will protect the overpass for years to come.
“I’m aware that closed roads can be annoying for drivers, but Project 30’s end results have been a huge improvement. As a result, this town now has some of the most well maintained roads across the country and I’m glad to hear that residents who responded to this survey agree.
“We can’t be complacent though and won’t leave the roads to get in a bad state again.”
However, Coun Paul Galley said there had been problems with Project 30 in explaining to residents which roads and paths were chosen and why plus managing expectation.
He said: “We had problems in our Anchorsholme ward and had to use some of our ward budget to get Rockville Avenue done. The council should have better explained to residents, for example in one case, why one footpath was resurfaced and the other side of the road was not.”