Local leaders have met to celebrate the long awaited start of construction on the M55 Link Road which will improve travel on the Fylde coast and bring new jobs, housing and investment to the area.
Work is now underway on the M55 to Heyhouses Link Road which is expected to open in early 2024. The scheme will 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.
The road will provide 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. In addition, Wild Lane on the northern section will connect into existing bridleways and become a route for pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians to enjoy its use. On the southern section, the road will have a parallel footway/cycleway. Together these will provide a continuous sustainable transport corridor along the whole length of the new road.
The link road will connect the existing roundabout at Whitehills Road to the north with Heyhouses Lane near the Cypress Point development site to the south.
The first phase of the project involves around 18-months of earthworks to prepare the ground for the new road, being carried out by Duo Operations. The road will then be constructed by Lancashire County Council’s in-house team.
Wild Lane and part of North Houses Lane, single track roads which were closed a number of years ago, will be reopened as a shared path for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders, providing a safe route away from the new road.
Councillor Karen Buckley, leader of Fylde Borough Council, said: ‘As County Councillor Edwards says, there has been enormous determination shown by local leaders to get to the point of contractors finally being on site to build this much needed road. Since the road collapsed in 2013 and was closed as a through route to Whitehills roundabout there have been three different Leaders of Fylde Council and yet this priority has never been off the table.’
Councillor Buckley continued, ‘Reaching agreement between so many interested parties with competing priorities proved challenging and some local residents, understandably, voiced a view that they did not believe the project was happening until they saw it with their own eyes. I am relieved we are now at that point and the years of negotiations, lobbying and bid-writing has borne fruit.’