South Ribble link road opens to traffic after 18-month delay

The long-delayed South Ribble cross-borough link road has finally opened to traffic.

Tuesday, 4th August 2020, 3:02 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th August 2020, 3:05 pm

The long-delayed South Ribble cross-borough link road has finally opened to traffic.

The route, which connects The Cawsey in Penwortham to Carrwood Road in Walton-le-Dale, was due to carry its first cars back in March 2019.

However, the £2.7m scheme has hit repeated red lights ever since – including land ownership issues and snagging work.

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The link road is finally open to traffic

But the most significant delay came as a result of safety concerns from residents on the Walton-le-Dale side of the route. As the Local Democracy Reporting Service has documented, locals feared that the likely speed of vehicles descending onto Carrwood Road from a bridge section of the new route over the Preston Junction Nature Reserve, would pose a risk to pedestrians and cars exiting side roads.

They called for planned safety measures to be introduced before the new highway opened. These included a ‘toucan’ crossing for pedestrians and cyclists cutting across Carrwood Road where it bisects the Old Tramway cycle route – and the extension of footpaths where previously only grass verges existed, to deter unnecessary crossing of the road.

That work has now been completed and the road is fully open.

However, one Walton-le-Dale resident, who did not want to be named, warned that speed was still a cause for concern for locals living along Carrwood Road – which was previously a cul-de-sac at the point where the link route now begins.

A crossing has been installed for users of the Old Tranway cycle route

“People don’t stick to 30mph in most places – so there is no reason to believe that they will do so here, unless it is properly enforced.

“There is also still nothing to stop people parking close to the junction with Loxwood Close – and that would make it difficult for residents to see to get out onto what will now be a busy road.

“We’re just going to have to see how it goes and report any issues,” the woman said.

The road was funded by housebuilder Morris Homes, as part of its St. Mary’s Park development of almost 300 new properties on the former Lostock Hall gas works site.

It emerged last month that the cost of the route had ballooned by £900,000 from the original estimate.

Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for highways, Keith Iddon, said the new route will “make it much easier for people to get between the Walton-le-Dale and Penwortham areas and provide an alternative route for local residents”.

He added: “This link will also help to ease traffic congestion in the area, especially at Tardy Gate.

“The pavement extensions and Toucan Crossing will make it easier for cyclists and pedestrians travelling along Carrwood Road and the popular Old Tram Road.

“I’m pleased this work is now complete.”