Roads back in action to ease town queues

Gridlock traffic in Blackpool town centre close to the Talbot Gateway redevelopment site.

Gridlock traffic in Blackpool town centre close to the Talbot Gateway redevelopment site.

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Traffic on Blackpool’s Central Promenade could be eased by the opening of a new road layout around part of the town centre, town hall bosses said today.

Routes around the resort’s huge Talbot Gateway construction site have been disrupted for the past few months.

And it is hoped opening them up from Saturday will ease congestion, including on Central Promenade – where a move to return the road to four lanes was rejected earlier this week.

Dickson Road, Springfield Road, High Street, Cookson Street and all of Talbot Road will be open both ways, although some pavement works are still to be finished.

It means significant changes to the highways network.

The main traffic route through the Talbot Gateway Central Business District area will be via Cookson Street, George Street and Buchanan Street for eastbound traffic and vice versa for westbound traffic.

Coun John Jones, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “I am sure this will come as a welcome boost to drivers, to people using public transport and to those living in the area.

“In the short-term the end of the works is expected to have a positive effect in helping traffic to flow freely, despite the large volume of visitor traffic which we’re expecting because of the fantastic weather.

“In the long-term it is a vital part of the regeneration of that area of Blackpool and, we hope, will also have a positive knock on effect on the flow of traffic on the Promenade.”

The news comes just days after Blackpool Council’s executive opted not to make any changes to the Central Prom, which motorists have been claiming has been blighted by traffic snarl-ups since the ‘shared space’ layout was introduced into 2011.

Construction will continue to take place for the new Sainsbury’s supermarket, council offices and the Talbot Road multi-storey car park.

The £220m Talbot Gateway Central Business District scheme, being created in conjunction with the council’s development partner, Muse Developments, will create new retail, commercial and community space for Blackpool in addition to town centre parking and transport facilities.

This also includes a new public square, offices, restaurants, retail units and a new supermarket. It is expected to be completed in full by summer 2014.

The revitalised area around North Station will also include a new public area which is to be named Bickerstaffe Square in honour of John Bickerstaffe, the visionary mayor who commissioned the building of Blackpool Tower in 1889.

Pupils from Blackpool Sixth Form College and Unity College, Bispham, both chose the name as part of a Blackpool Council contest.

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