Traffic light change at major Preston junctions
The traffic lights at two of the busiest junctions in Preston are set to be upgraded.
The signals at the junction of Church Street, Stanley Street and Ringway will be replaced, as part of plans by Lancashire County Council to step up the inspection and modernisation of traffic lights and streetlamps that may be nearing the end of their operational life.
The intersection - close to where the A6 and the A59 meet - is controlled by some of the oldest signals still in use in the city, dating back around two decades.
Although not as old, the lights just yards along the road at the junction of New Hall Lane and Queen Street will also be upgraded, together with the pelican crossing close to the Queen Street Retail Park.
A date for the work has not yet been revealed.
Signals at other junctions on Ringway have already been upgraded in recent years - including at Corporation Street and Friargate.
The new schemes were announced as County Hall laid out how it intends to spend £15.8m in roads and highways infrastructure cash from the government. The full list of projects can be seen here.
The funding is a combination of several pots of cash, some of which would ordinarily have been allocated after local authorities engaged in a competitive bidding process. However, the pandemic has prompted ministers to divide it up by a formula instead.
Cabinet members have agreed to use £9.2m of Lancashire’s share on major works to the A601(M) in Carnforth – including bridge refurbishments and the complete removal of one bridge structure and its replacement with a ground-level junction. The scheme was the subject of a pitch to the government’s highways challenge fund last year, after it emerged that the route was at risk of requiring weight restrictions to be placed upon it – or even complete closure.
That would have sent HGV drivers on a 21-mile diversion and also pushed other traffic through the centre of Carnforth.
The 1.3-mile dual carriageway connects the M6 at junction 35 to the A6 - and is part of the official diversion for when the M6 between junctions 35 and 36 is closed. It will lose its own motorway status as part of the newly-approved works, so that the maintenance costs for the route can be reduced.
Over £4.1m will be spent on preventative highway maintenance – including the new street lighting and traffic signal inspection regime.
Jet patching on all classifications of road – including residential streets – will get a slice of the cash, as will work to improve drainage maintenance to prevent flooding issues.
Further structural repairs to some of the so-called “moss roads” in West Lancashire will also be carried out, after assessments revealed that a decade of extreme weather events had caused severe damage to the foundations of the routes. £547,000 will be added to the £750,000 that had already been set aside for that purpose.
Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for highways, Keith Iddon said he was pleased that the authority was able to prioritise those rural routes which “receive less traffic, but are just as vital to our rural economy".
The remainder of the funding - £2.5m - will be used on repairing damage caused by storms Ciara and Denis last winter. Back in May, £1.6m worth of urgent repairs were approved, but more have since merged – primarily needed to prevent deterioration of bridges and retaining river walls.
The newly-identified work pushes Lancashire’s total storm damage bill to over £7m.