Construction of the Heyhouses link route began last June - nine years after the idea was first given the green light.
The road will run from Heyhouses Lane in the south - close to the Cypress Point housing development - through to an existing roundabout at Whitehill Road and Cropper Road, on the outskirts of Blackpool, not far from the M55.
It had previously been estimated that the £27m project would be finished by early 2024. However, a meeting of Lancashire County Council’s cabinet heard that the core element of the scheme is now expected to be completed before the end of 2023.
The long-awaited link finally got off the drawing board last summer, after the final tranche of funding needed for the work - £5.8m - was secured from the government’s Getting Building Fund, which sought to kick-start “shovel-ready” infrastructure schemes in the wake of the pandemic.
County Hall has now approved the procurement process for finding a contractor to carry out the surfacing of the road - work which it is thought will cost in the region of £1.8m.
Highways and transport cabinet member Charlie Edwards said that “pre-commencement utilities works” had now largely been finished.
“The project is coming along well and we anticipate the basic link road is to be completed by the end of 2023.
“I'd like to thank the teams on the ground who, at times, have been operating in challenging circumstances - and also…the good people of St. Annes for their continued patience throughout this project,” County Cllr Edwards added.
Fellow cabinet member Peter Buckley - who represents the St Annes North division on the authority - said that contractors had experienced “really inclement” weather and that the site was “not easy land” on which to work.
As The Gazette revealed three years ago, Wild Lane - which was hit by subsidence in 2013 - will be retained as a route for pedestrians, cyclists and horseriders alongside the northern section of the link road.
The contract for the surfacing work will run from October this year for 12 months and will have a £200,000 contingency built into it.
The successful bidder will first have to clear hurdles including proving their technical capability, relevant experience and financial standing.
Companies which pass those initial tests will then be judged as part of an assessment process which will be weighted 20 percent towards “quality” criteria and 80 percent towards financial matters.