Green for go at last for Fylde's road to prosperity
To describe the Lytham St Annes to M55 link road as long-awaited is an understatement to say the least.
The access road towards it, marked Lytham St Annes Way, has been teasing drivers for more than 20 years at one end and almost that at the other – but the section in between has been the subject of waiting and wondering if it might ever see the light of day.
Now, though, work is finally due to start next month on linking Lytham via Ansdell to the motorway network via Peel – and when shovels finally hit soil, it will be sighs of relief all round.
That will particularly be the case for Fylde MP Mark Menzies, who has battled long and hard to make the £27m link road a reality – and took his campaign to the very top of Government to get the desired result.
“There was a time around two years ago when this project was really in trouble; the initial funding I won was in danger of being lost, and negotiations with Homes England regarding several aspects of the site were not going well.
“They made several considerable changes to their stance, and that initial funding, and the Homes England funding fell away in a bombshell week.
“I lobbied the Prime Minister and Chancellor to replace those lost funds, and working with all of those involved and the Lancashire Economic Partnership, we managed to get those funds back from Government, along with increased contributions from Fylde and Lancashire County Councils.
“That was something I reminded the Prime Minister of when he visited Warton recently, and he spoke about the M55 link road, as well as our plans to double rail services on the South Fylde Line to further increase our transport offerings. His support was invaluable.
“I cannot wait for the day we can drive across this road and see the benefits it will bring.”
Fylde Council is among the organisations which has invested in the road and its leader Coun Karen Buckley said: “To see it finally underway will be a huge relief to our residents and the tangible benefits to the local community will assist our post-Covid recovery.”
Denize Ashton of the Lytham Business Partnership said: “Any improved link into the area has to be good for our local business and will hopefully make visiting here a more viable option.”
The building of the road will be a 30-month project, with drivers likely to be able to use it from autumn 2023.
It is intended to drastically improve access between Lytham St Annes and the M55, relieve congestion on smaller local roads, and support the commercial viability of local housing and business development sites, including the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone.
Lytham St Annes Way in its current form at Ansdell was completed in the late 1990s with the building and opening of the Cypress Point housing estate.
The stretch from Whitehills roundabout to that west of Peel has been in use since the early years of this millennium.
Until the autumn of 2014, the two were linked by the moss road, single track with passing places, but that was closed almost seven years ago for safety reasons.
United Utilities and Electricity Northwest have been working at the site for some time now to protect and divert existing utilities, with that preparation to be followed by the contractors on behalf of highways authority Lancashire County Council moving onto site from next month.
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