A key commuter route on the Fylde coast has been revealed as the slowest in Lancashire.
Motorists say they cannot wait for a new relief road – with work set to start next year – following years of traffic misery on the A585.
The southbound stretch of Mains Lane between Amounderness Way and Shard Road has the worst delays of any major route in the county, according to the latest government figures.
Drivers lose an average of 39.3 seconds every mile along that section of the road, compared to if they had been able to travel at the speed limit.
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However, the situation has improved in the last 12 months with the average speed rising to 32mph last year, up from 27.8mph in 2017, when the typical delay was 50.7 seconds per mile.
Paul Southall, 45, of Mains Lane said: “The traffic crawls along here during rush hour and it is every day.
“The Texaco petrol station doesn’t help matters because people tend to get held up at it and that stops the traffic from flowing.
“I honestly can’t wait for this bypass to get built. It will make it a much quieter road and it will be nice to breathe fresh air again.”
Highways England is set to start work next year on a £100m bypass between Windy Harbour and Skippool aimed at easing the congestion on the A585.
The 2.7-mile Windy Harbour to Skippool section is one of the busiest and most congested along the 11.5 mile road which links Fleetwood to the M55.
The proposal is part of the Government’s £15 billion Road Investment Strategy (RIS).
A spokesman for Highways England said major changes are due for the busy road.
They said: “About 26,000 vehicles travel along the part of the A585 near Fleetwood each day and it suffers from daily rush hour congestion and occasional shunt-style collisions in queues onto the Norcross Lane roundabout.
“We’re planning to install traffic lights and provide extra lanes at the roundabout to improve journeys for commuters and others caught up in morning and evening rush hour queues.
“Cyclists and pedestrians will also benefit from the improvements with enhanced facilities for travelling around the junction included in our proposals.”
The £5m project at the Norcross roundabout will see traffic lights installed to ease traffic problems at busy times.
Work will take around five months to complete and is set to begin in the autumn.
Cerys Sweeney, 57, of Mains Lane said: “It has been like this for years.
“There are more cars on the roads nowadays and the rush hour gridlock is inevitable along here.
“When the bypass is built it will be good for us along Mains Lane but I honestly believe it will still be busy.
“I think they need to build a dual carriageway all the way to the motorway in my opinion so I won’t hold my breath for the traffic problems to disappear just yet.
David Havard, 39, of Skippool Lane in Thornton, said: “I think because of all the traffic coming from Amounderness Way as well as Poulton and Thornton, they are funnelled into this single carriage way and it’s bound to make all the traffic go slow.
“The bypass has been needed for years.
“They tried to rectify things when they redesigned the Windy Harbour junction but it didn’t really do anything.
“I’m just someone who used the road on a daily basis but I can imagine it can be hell for some of the people living on Mains Lane.”
A Department for Transport spokesman said: “This government is determined to improve journeys for all motorists, which is why we’re investing nearly £29bn to reduce congestion on our roads up to 2025.
“We are also investing £3.1 billion in local projects to make road travel smoother, while our £2.5bn Transforming Cities Fund will develop innovative public transport schemes to further tackle congestion in some of England’s biggest cities.”
At the other end of the scale, vehicles sped along the M61 southbound between J8 and J6 and the M61 southbound at the Bolton West Services between J8 and J6 at an average of 74.3mph – making them the fastest sections of road in the area.
Across England, motorists suffered a 3.9 per cent increase in delays on motorways and major A roads last year. Journeys took an average of 9.4 seconds per mile longer than if vehicles were able to drive at the speed limit, according to the DfT, up from 9.0 seconds during the previous year. It suggests that driving along a 10-mile section of road with a 60mph limit typically took 11 minutes and 34 seconds last year, compared with 10 minutes in free flow conditions.
RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “More congestion means more wasted time and money, which is clearly bad news for drivers, but it may be a case of short-term pain for longer term gain.
“Much work is being carried out on our motorways to improve capacity by upgrading them to smart motorways, but this inevitably causes delays.
“Nonetheless, extra capacity is badly needed as Britain now has around 38 million vehicles registered for use, and in the 10 years from 2007 more than four million extra vehicles came on to the road.”