One year after work began on the £124m Heysham to M6 Link Road, the project is already delivering on promises to create jobs and attract new investment.
Lancashire County Council’s construction partners Costain has taken on 80 people from the area as part of a pledge to ensure a minimum of 100 local unemployed people will receive training and jobs during construction.
The firm has also employed five apprentices.
The project has also been a boost for local contractors and suppliers, and encouraged other businesses to invest ahead of the better transport links and resulting economic growth which the road is predicted to bring following completion in 2016.
Daniel Ternent, project manager at Lafarge Tarmac, the construction solutions company whose role involves supplying key materials to the project, said: “Early collaboration and working closely with Costain has helped us to maintain and grow our local contract haulage fleet, as well supporting local haulage companies.
“We will deliver over 800,000 tonnes of mixed aggregates and asphalt as well as 25,000 cubic metres of concrete over the life of the project, which is great for local business and local jobs.
“In addition we’ve created an additional role in our business at our local quarry, as well as two at the new ready-mix plant at Leapers Wood which was primarily installed to supply the project.”
Alistair Eagles, managing director Irish Sea, Seatruck Ferries Ltd, said: “Seatruck is really excited about the development of the new road which has generated renewed interest from companies who are already looking to base their haulage operations in Heysham because of the new road and the certainty it will bring to journey times.
“We have been investing heavily in new ships and we are confident that with the right ships, the new road and new customers basing themselves here, we will see an increase in business at Heysham port, bringing investment for the area and jobs for the local community.
“We have already seen one of the largest transport companies in Ireland move some of their operations to Heysham, which is indicative of the level of confidence generated by the link road.”
Costain apprentice surveyor Levi Watts, 23, from Morecambe said: “I was working in a bakery and I noticed Costain were coming to build the road.
“I wanted a change in my work and I’ve never looked back. I’m now on a two year apprenticeship in surveying, which I enjoy very much.”
The most eye-catching phase of the link road project will begin in March 2015 when the steelwork to create the new bridge across the River Lune will begin. This will see a huge crane being built to lift into place the massive steel beams.