New pictures show work is underway on M55 link road
Local leaders have met to celebrate the start of construction of the £27m M55 to Heyhouses link road, which is expected to open in early 2024.
The first phase of the project involves around 18-months of earthworks by Duo Operations to prepare the ground for the new road, which will then be constructed by Lancashire County
Council’s in-house team.
The link road, which will improve access between Lytham and St Annes and the motorway network, will connect the existing roundabout at Whitehills Road to the north with Heyhouses
Lane near the Cypress Point development site to the south.
On the northern section, Wild Lane and part of North Houses Lane – single track roads which were closed a number of years ago – will be reopened as a shared path for pedestrians,
cyclists and horse riders.
The road is being funded thanks to contributions from or managed through the Department for Transport, Highways England, the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Lancashire
County Council, Fylde Borough Council, Kensington Developments Ltd, and other developers.
A contract was agreed in March after the project became one of 10 ‘shovel ready’ schemes across the county to receive support as part of the Getting Building Fund to speed up
construction in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
County Coun Charlie Edwards, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Lancashire County Council believes this road will make a huge difference to
travel in this area, and is vital to ensure the creation of jobs and homes for local people with the future development which will now be able to take place.
“I know that residents and businesses have been anticipating this moment for many years, and I’m very pleased to be able to say that we’re getting on with delivering those better journey
times and reduced congestion which the link road will bring.
“The project board for this scheme represents a number of local partners, and it has taken an enormous amount of determination from them to secure the land and funding needed to get
us to this point.
“I’d also like to thank all the neighbouring landowners for their support and cooperation in allowing us to secure the land needed for the road, and the access which will make construction
“My thanks also to all of the councillors and local organisations for working together to deliver this for our residents.”
Coun Karen Buckley, leader of Fylde Borough Council, said: “There has been enormous determination shown by local leaders to get to the point of contractors finally being on site to build
this much needed road.
“Since the road collapsed in 2013 and was closed as a through route to Whitehills roundabout there have been three different leaders of Fylde Council and yet this priority has never been
off the table.
“Reaching agreement between so many interested parties with competing priorities proved challenging and some local residents, understandably, voiced a view that they did not believe
the project was happening until they saw it with their own eyes. I am relieved we are now at that point and the years of negotiations, lobbying and bid-writing has borne fruit.”
It is hoped the scheme will relieve congestion on smaller roads and support the commercial viability of local housing and business development sites.
David Taylor, chairman of Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: “The LEP is proud to be backing this project, which not only provides an important transport link but which will also
improve access to the nearby Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone and unlock vital local jobs and homes on the Fylde.
“I know a lot of local effort has gone in to making this project happen, and it is great that £5.79m of funding from the Getting Building Fund – provided by the LEP - has been decisive in
getting this project across the line.”
Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “At last, we can see works on the M55 link road under way.
“Lancashire County Council stepped up to the mark and Fylde Council doubled its contribution to the project to get it done. I lobbied ministers including the Chancellor and Prime Minister
to secure Government funding and our vital link road is now being built.
“What we must remember is that this much more than just a road; it will help unlock the economic potential of St Annes and Lytham for many years to come.”
Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall MP, said: “I am thrilled that a £5.79 million Getting Building Fund investment will help kickstart construction to improve
access between Lytham and the M55.
“This project will help to relieve congestion on smaller local roads and provide more opportunities for housing and business developments in the area.”
Kristian Marsh, Highways England’s route manager for the M55, said: “We are pleased to be able to support the delivery of this long desired local highway scheme with a £4.78 million
contribution from our Growth and Housing Fund.
“It’s a great example of partnership across many organisations that will help unlock the development of new homes and the creation of new jobs.”
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