Worried local councillors have called for a rethink over the postponement of a new relief road aimed at reducing accidents on a notorious stretch of highway.
County Hall put back the plan for the £2m Green Lane Link in Tarleton for four years in October because of funding cuts.
Now West Lancashire Council is writing to county council chiefs asking for the road to be a top priority to help keep heavy goods vehicles away from rural villages and a section of the busy A565.
“We are poorly served by LCC in terms of capital investment for roads and transport in West Lancashire,” said Coun Malcolm Barron, who is a member of both the district and county councils.
“Not only would the Green Lane Link help growers in what is a big agricultural area in the county, but it would also take an awful lot of lorries off the stretch of the A565 from Tarleton traffic lights, thus improving safety.”
Accident figures show the two-mile stretch of the main Southport road between Tarleton and Mere Brow has seen an increase in collisions over the past 12 years. Two people have been killed and at least 41 seriously hurt during that period.
Yet, despite having agreed to build the relief road to take lorries away from the villages of Tarleton, Hesketh Bank and Banks, the county council reversed the decision in October due to the austerity measures demanded by central government.
It put the project back to 2019/20 at the earliest, sparking furore in West Lancashire.
“There is no way this area can wait that long for a road which will almost certainly save lives,” said Coun Barron. “People are getting killed along this stretch of the A565 and to delay the road any longer is almost like saying it doesn’t matter.
“I have campaigned since 1999 for this project. It was approved in 2010 and residents in the Tarleton area were delighted. But now it is being put off for at least another four years and it just isn’t right.
“If the relief road was built it would include a new roundabout on the A565 which would have the effect of slowing down traffic on a stretch of road where drivers tend to speed.”