A Blackpool councillor has defended the continuing closure of a key link road despite calls by a Fylde coast MP to open the route to ease congestion.
Blackpool Council’s transport chief Coun John Jones said the closure of Midgeland Road in Marton was crucial for the safety of residents – but Fylde MP Mark Menzies said he wanted answers as to why “a perfectly good road” was being kept closed to motorists.
Coun Jones said the authority took the decision to shut the route after a study in October last year showed more than 300 drivers used Midgeland Road during the morning and the evening rush hours – with 85 per cent of motorists speeding at 35mph or more.
Coun Jones said the route between Wild Lane, Division Lane and Midgeland Road was being used as a “rat-run” and was a clear danger to residents. He added: “I have to think about the safety of Midgeland Road residents. It is not just the cars using it as a cut through.
“We can’t afford to have an accident or fatality.
“When it comes to safety, 300-plus vehicles speeding –we can’t allow that to happen.”
The route was used as a short cut by motorists until earlier this year after the closure of Wild Lane in August last year due to safety concerns.
This month Lancashire County Council completed resurfacing work on nearby Division Lane to help ease traffic in the area – but Midgeland Road remains closed.
Now drivers have just two main routes between St Annes and Blackpool – Queensway and Clifton Drive North.
Mr Menzies said the closure was hampering traffic in the area.
He added: “Lancashire County Council came back to me recently and said it had a duty to all road users to reopen Division Lane to traffic once it had been resurfaced, a position I have sympathy with.
“However, that does not seem to be the stance of Blackpool Council which is maintaining its closure of Midgeland Road.
“I have asked them to explain to me the reasons for this and the legislation which they have used to keep a perfectly good road closed while hampering traffic movement across the whole area.”
But Coun Jones said the only circumstances in which Midgeland Road would reopen is when a proposed £18m link is built between St Annes and the M55, or County Hall rebuilds crumbling Wild Lane, at a cost quoted earlier this year of £350,000.