New Fylde link road on course for June opening

New aerial photos show the final stages of construction of the M55 to Heyhouses Link Road are well advanced.

However prolonged wet weather has hampered progress and it is now scheduled to open in June 2024.

The new road is being built to improve access between St Annes, Ansdell, Fairhaven, Lytham and the M55, to relieve congestion on smaller local roads, and support the commercial viability of local housing and business development sites.

It will connect the existing roundabout at Whitehills Road to the north with Heyhouses Lane near Cypress Point to the south, providing much better access between the M55 motorway and existing employment areas in Lytham and St Annes, with the improved link to the coast also supporting the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone and the area's vital leisure and tourism industry.

Work started in June 2021, with the road previously scheduled to open in April 2024.

Prolonged wet weather during 2023 affected several sections of the road corridor, causing delays to the first phase of the scheme to carry out earthworks and construct drainage. This consequently had a knock-on impact on the rest of the project, with the site being handed over later than planned to Lancashire County Council's highways team for construction of the upper layers of the road.

This phase of road construction being shifted into winter has resulted in additional time being needed because activities such as laying asphalt can't be carried out in poor weather conditions. It had been hoped that reasonable conditions over winter would allow for an accelerated construction schedule, and the road to open in April. While good progress has been made, very wet and cold weather over recent months means the county council's highways team has not been able to 'catch-up' the time lost during the earlier phase, with the road now scheduled to open in June.

County Councillor Rupert Swarbrick, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "The link road will make a real difference to travel in this area and construction is progressing well, however the weather over the winter has been worse than we'd hoped for and means we haven't been able to make up the time lost to the flooding last summer.

"As I hope people will be able to see from the new aerial photos, construction has been going well nonetheless, with kerbing now in place throughout the scheme along with preparations for the final surface to be laid.

"The warmer weather now starting to arrive gives us more certainty over timescales for completion of this final phase, and I know our team will be working really hard to get the road finished and open as soon as they possibly can."

Recent construction activity has focused on completing the kerbing, along with preparing the upper layers of the road for the final surface to be laid. Construction has also been progressing to improve the surface of the existing Wild Lane/North Houses Lane, which will become a bridleway, providing a safe route for pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians along the whole length of the new road.

Mark Menzies, MP for Fylde, added: "I have spent 14 years fighting for this project and the package to finance its construction. While nobody is more excited to see this road open than me, I know that the summer opening will arrive before we know it, alleviating congestion in St Annes and especially on Queensway.

"I remember the Moss Road as just that, a farm track used by many as a cut through but with a narrow and uneven surface. To see the road transformed into a modern highway for traffic, with accompanying bridle path and access for cyclists and pedestrians is hugely exciting. With the Preston Western Distributor Road having opened to traffic last summer, and the A585 Singleton Bypass completing its opening this week, Fylde is reaping the benefits of hundreds of millions of pounds of investment."

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