It may still be a road to nowhere, but progress is being made on the Broughton by-pass – despite its opening being postponed until early next year.
Today we provide a “mid-term report” on the long-awaited £32m project, with a special photo preview on work which cannot yet be seen or accessed by the public.
The road, designed to improve congestion on the A6 north of Preston, particularly at the notorious bottleneck Broughton crossroads, has soared in cost by £8m from a predicted £24m.
The higher bill means other road improvement schemes in Lancashire may now be delayed.
Funded by the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal the by-pass, which will ease journey times for many Wyre commuters, is being constructed by Hochtief UK and the council says the extra costs will be funded from City Deal coffers.
Sue Procter, the Council’s Director of Programmes and Project Management, said: “The City Deal is a major 10- year scheme with numerous projects and we’ll look carefully as to how we can find the money in the most efficient way, with the least impact on the other schemes.”
County Coun Keith Iddon, Cabinet member for highways and transport, has apologised for delays and disruption to people’s homes, businesses and journeys.
He said: “Great progress has already been made and a lot of construction work has been done which people may not be able to see from the road.
“It’s been many decades since this road was first considered and the reality is that despite the delays, in a few months we will have a new bypass which will bring much-needed congestion relief to the village itself and the wider area.”
The council says obstacles included an unexpected embankment collapse adjacent to the A6 due to “extremely wet ground conditions”.
Electricity North West was delayed carrying out work on the by-pass’ electrical system, which also slowed the road’s construction.
Once drivers can use the by-pass it is predicted traffic travelling through the centre of Broughton on the A6 Garstang Road will be reduced by up to 90 per cent.
• The final overnight closure of the A6 north of Broughton has taken place, with surfacing work on the A6 roundabout completed. The roundabout is now open but still has temporary traffic lights operating at certain (off-peak) times.
• The Whittingham Lane roundabout has opened to the public, with surfacing work almost completed between the A6 roundabout and Whittingham Lane.
• Most of the surfacing close to D’Urton Lane and the new southern roundabout has been completed.
WORK IN PROGRESS
• Surfacing work has begun where the M55 end of the bypass meets the A6.
• Some road closures will be needed to connect the new road to the local roads network, with dates to be announced.
• Work is taking place to connect the bypass to D’Urton Lane.
• Work continues on drainage, bridge and earthworks and on installing noise-reducing barriers along the route
• This month work starts on installing noise-reducing fencing to provide sound protection for those attending St John the Baptist church and Broughton-in-Amounderness CE school.
£24m PRICE AT START OF WORK IN JANUARY 2016
£27m PRICE REVISED IN SEPTEMBER 2016
£32m UPDATED COST ANNOUNCED JUNE 2017