Traffic to switch sides as Penwortham Bypass work reaches next stage

Hutton-bound traffic will be switched to a contraflow on the opposite carriageway.
Hutton-bound traffic will be switched to a contraflow on the opposite carriageway.
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Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians will all be hit next week by major new changes to the layout of one of busiest routes into Preston.

A stretch of the A59 between Hutton and Penwortham will become contraflow for traffic when one half of the dual carriageway, including its pavement and cycle track, closes for work to connect up the new £17.5m bypass.

Workmen will begin the job of linking the A59 to the new bypass on Monday.

Workmen will begin the job of linking the A59 to the new bypass on Monday.

Residents in Howick Moor Lane will also be affected, with their junction with Liverpool Road being blocked off to vehicles.

The changes come as the final phase of the project is set to get underway this summer, with the aim of completing the new congestion-busting highway by the New Year.

A large part of the bypass has already been built. But the final stretch, linking it with the A59 at Howick, will begin once the last parcel of land - a school sports field - has been handed over to the constructors.

Roadworks have been going on along Liverpool Road since February, with one lane in each direction closed down to allow preparatory work to start on the new junction.

The new bypass waits to break through the school sports field to connect with the A59.

The new bypass waits to break through the school sports field to connect with the A59.

Now both lanes of the southern carriageway, nearest to the sports field, will be shut from Monday, with Hutton-bound traffic diverted on to a contraflow on the opposite carriageway.

Cyclists and pedestrians will also have to switch to the northern side of the road. A pedestrian crossing outside Howick Cross Primary School has now been completed to allow access to and from the school.

The bypass, which was first suggested almost 40 years ago, is designed to take an estimated 22,000 vehicles a day out of Penwortham’s town centre which becomes heavily congested with rush hour traffic.

Once completed, work will then start on improvements on the main street to encourage more walking and cycling and to give priority to bus services.

Residents have been asked for their views on how the town centre should look and what traffic calming measures are needed to prevent it becoming a rat run for traffic not wanting to use the bypass.

In addition to the roadworks at Howick, Lancashire County Council has also been busy providing new homes for wildlife disturbed by the construction work.

New amphibian hibernaculas and log piles, which will offer safe shelter for animals and insects to nest and hibernate during the winter months, have been provided around the bypass site, with more to follow in the future.

Five new sports pitches have been constructed for All Hallows RC High School to replace those in the line of the new road.

The bypass is one of four major road projects in Preston and South Ribble being funded by the £434m City Deal project to ease traffic flow in Central Lancashire.

The 1.3km dual carriageway will connect the A59 at Howick with the A582 Golden Way at the recently reconfigured Broad Oak Roundabout near to Booths.

It follows on from the Broughton Bypass (James Towers Way) which was opened in October 2017 at a cost of £32m. The Preston Western Distributor and the East-West Link Road are set to follow.

County Councillor Keith Iddon, Cabinet member for highways and transport said: “We apologise to people for any disruption to their journeys while we carry out this work to create the new junction for the bypass. It will affect people who travel along this section of the A59.

“While we’re building the new bypass, we’re doing everything we can to keep disruption to a minimum.

“When it opens early next year, the new road will significantly reduce traffic in the centre of Penwortham, open up new opportunities for business and help people to get around more easily.”