Major Penwortham roadworks will not be complete in time for opening of new Tesco supermarket
Highways improvements outside the new Tesco supermarket in Penwortham will take months to finish, according to County Council bosses.
The news has been blasted as "ludicrous" by Penwortham Councillor David Howarth, who accused Lancashire County Council Highways department of stalling on the project.
The new store is set to open on January 29, with the supermarket giant funding road improvements as part of planning conditions.
>>>Click here to read about the new store and it's manager
They include the creation of a new signalised junction on Liverpool Road to control access to the store, along with a new pedestrian/cycle crossing, new shared pedestrian/cycle crossings around the Priory Lane and Cop Lane junctions with Liverpool Road, and the creation of new sections of cycle lane on the north side of Liverpool Road which will separate cyclists from other traffic.
Temporary traffic lights will be in place at the entrance and exit of the new store, with cones and barriers in place across a large section of the road, bus stops moved and pedestrian crossings closed.
LCC say they the roadworks were never meant to be completed in time for the opening of the store, but locals say the timing "beggars belief".
Councillor David Howarth said: "I find it hard to believe that the roadworks weren't meant to finish in time for the shop opening, given that this has been discussed for 10 years and planning permission for Tesco was granted in 2017.
"It is ludicrous that LCC waited until a month before the store opens to start the work. It beggars belief."
Coun Howarth said he has also been contacted by local residents concerned about bus stops in the area being closed.
He said: "At the moment, there is nowhere to get off the bus in that area. They (LCC) have closed off the bus stop near the Arts Centre and by the Girls' High School. This means that you have to get off the bus either at the bottom of Penwortham Hill or at Manor Lane. They have effectively cut off the district centre from the number 3 bus, but none of this is taken into account."
A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: "The reduction in traffic through Penwortham as a result of the new bypass has enabled us to begin progress with a number of improvements which aim to encourage more walking and cycling and prioritise buses along Liverpool Road.
"Our focus with the significant highway improvements around Cop Lane which are being funded by Tesco as part of their planning permission is to ensure these required changes complement and tie-in well with our plans, with an emphasis on upgrading cycling facilities.
"The Tesco highway scheme includes the creation of a new signalised junction on Liverpool Road to control access to the store, along with a new pedestrian/cycle crossing. There are also a large number of improvements around the Cop Lane/Priory Lane junction, including new shared pedestrian/cycle crossings on Cop Lane and Priory Lane. The scheme also includes the creation of new sections of cycle lane on the north side of Liverpool Road which will separate cyclists from other traffic, as well as improvements to cycle lanes around the junctions.
"We expect this development-funded scheme which is now underway to take a number of months to complete. While it is ongoing traffic will be controlled using temporary lights to allow access to the store, and where necessary provide safe access for the improvements to be carried out. We're grateful for people's patience while there is some short term disruption in this area, however the resulting scheme will contribute towards minimising future congestion and help to make Penwortham a better place to live, visit and do business."