What is it?
The Preston Western Distribution Road, also known as the M55 Link Road, is a a 70 mph, 2.5 mile stretch of dual carriageway linking the M55 with Preston and southern Fylde. It also includes a shared cycleway and footway. The project is a collaboration between Lancashire County Council and Highways England as part of the North West Preston Masterplan.
What is happening?
Five nights of overnight closures started on the M55 on Wednesday to allow for work to take place, including lane narrowing and reducing the speed limit to 50mph to allow the construction of four slip roads and the bridge piers. The roadworks are expected to remain in place for more than two years. Vegetation clearing started last week where the junction will be created.
What are the timescales?
Following planning approval last year and compulsory purchase orders in March, work is expected to begin on the project at the end of the month and it’s anticipated the new roads will be open in early 2023.
What is the cost?
The total cost of the project is £186m from an initial estimate of £104m when plans were first drawn up.
What has been said?
Lancashire County Council leader Geoff Driver said: “This is a major new road scheme that will significantly improve access around the city, as well as creating a new connection onto the national motorway network.
“[It] will open up new business opportunities, improve access to existing and proposed housing sites and reduce congestion on other parts of the network by providing more options for how people can get around.”