Project leaders have put forward final plans for a new motorway link road in Lancashire.
Highways chiefs said work to deliver the M55 Heyhouses Link Road is at a key stage with changes needed to planning permission for the route.
The proposed link road would connect the existing roundabout at Whitehills Road to the north with Heyhouses Lane near the Cypress Point development site to the south.
It is designed to provide improved access between Lytham St Annes and the M55, relieving congestion on smaller local roads, and supporting the commercial viability of local housing and business development sites.
The first work on the ground – preparations needed to make it possible to construct the road - began in January 2019, with communications firm Openreach starting work to re-site cabling along Wild Lane.
Meanwhile, a number of minor changes to planning applications for the road which have already received approval were submitted in December 2018 and, subject to conditions being met, could be ready for Lancashire County Council’s development control committee to determine in the next few weeks.
The county council has completed the initial stage of the restricted tender process for the contract to construct the road, and began the final stage of the tender process with publication of documents on Friday 8 March 2019.
And work is in the final stages to bring together the funding to support the delivery of the road. The partners working on the scheme include Lancashire County Council, Fylde Borough Council, Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, Highways England, Department for Transport, and Kensington Developments Limited.
If planning permission is awarded, project milestones are met and resources are in place a contract for the road’s construction could be awarded for work to start in summer 2019.
County Coun Keith Iddon, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Access from Lytham St Annes to the M55 is presently via a circuitous and busy route leading to unreliable journey times and I know Fylde residents have been keen for us to update them on progress with the link road.
“Work has been ongoing in the background to overcome a number of obstacles in recent months, and we’re continuing to work closely with partners to clear the final hurdles needed to deliver the road
“It’s encouraging that a number of key milestones have been met in recent weeks, with pre-commencement works also beginning on site, and we’re hoping to be able to report more good news in the coming months.”
Fylde Council leader, Coun Sue Fazackerley, said: “This is such a vital link for the Fylde transport system and I am delighted that tangible progress is being made.
“Fylde Council has made a considerable financial commitment to speed up the progress of the building of the road and our residents are anxious to see some signs of activity. Hopefully, this will escalate in the month ahead.”
Graham Cowley, chairman of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s Growth Deal Management Board, said: “Growth Deal funding enables key road schemes like this to progress and unlock land for both housing and business which is vital for local economic growth.”
David Wild, Highways England’s asset manager for Lancashire, said: “We’re pleased to see plans for the link road progressing.
“As well as securing a more direct link between Lytham and the motorway at junction 4, the contribution from our dedicated national fund to support growth and housing will help open up opportunities for new jobs and new housing. The new road will also ease congestion further along the motorway at junction 3.”