Transport for Lancashire has announced a package of road and rail improvements to boost economic growth over the next decade.
Lancashire County Council, Blackpool Council and Blackburn with Darwen Council joined forces with the private sector Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP), to create the new body, known as TfL.
A committee of the LEP, at which council leaders meet with LEP chiefs to ensure transport schemes support economic development, it will develop, approve and fund major transport schemes, with a multi-million budget to be devolved by the Department for Transport (DfT) from 2015/16.
TfL has outlined six schemes to be delivered by 2024/25, based on forecast funding allocations from the DfT, developer contributions, and the newly signed £1bn Preston and Lancashire City Deal.
The six schemes include two that are part of the City Deal.
A £58m sum will go towards the estimated £90m total construction cost of a new road linking the M55 near Bartle with the A583 near Clifton, to support development of new housing in North West Preston and improve links to the Enterprise Zone site at Warton.
A £15.1m sum will go towards the estimated £23.7m total construction cost of delivering the A6 Broughton Bypass, a new road to ease congestion on one of the main routes into north Preston, supporting housing and business development in one of the key areas identified by the LEP.
Edwin Booth, LEP chairman, said: “The improvements to transport infrastructure we’ve agreed are critical to ensure our plans to create jobs and foster economic growth become a reality.
“Preston has enormous potential as a focal point for economic growth, but this bid is on a vast scale and it is not just the city itself but the whole of Lancashire that stands to benefit.
“It also complements our existing programmes for job creation and apprenticeships.
“The City Deal will form the basis for large scale investment in transport and housing, and provide the ideal conditions for companies to invest and create employment.
“As a committee of the LEP, TfL will allow the private and public sectors to speak with one voice to ensure we get the best possible deal.”
In agreeing the top six priorities, TfL considered a total of 24 schemes. Independent consultants assessed them based on their contribution to the economy, environmental and social impacts, likely value for money, and deliverability.
Five further schemes will form a development pool. One of these, to complete the A59 Penwortham Bypass between Broad Oak roundabout and Howick Cross, is a critical part of the City Deal and will now come forward as a priority under its funding arrangements.
The pool also includes a major programme of maintenance works for the Greyhound Bridge in Lancaster, including replacement of joints, resurfacing, waterproofing and concrete repair.
The priority schemes have been submitted to the DfT while the councils do further work to prepare the business cases to fund them.
Each scheme will have to undergo full appraisal and demonstrate it will achieve value for money in order to eventually receive funding.
County Coun Jennifer Mein, leader of Lancashire County Council and chairman of TfL, said there was huge potential for economic growth in the region.
She said: “Better transport will allow the jobs which are created to be accessed by people across the whole county, and the wider economic benefits will be felt by everyone.
“We’ll now be working hard to ensure the business case to support the funding and delivery of these schemes is as strong as it can be.
“As a county council, we are also working hard on producing transport masterplans for the whole of Lancashire, which will make sure we have the right infrastructure to support growth.”
People can comment on the priorities from September 23 at the LEP website www.lancashirelep.co.uk.