Cash boost to solve M65 junction delays

Improvements to junctions on the M65 to combat congestion are due to start in August as part of the £250m. Growth Deal secured by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership.

M65: Cash to solve problem of congestion
M65: Cash to solve problem of congestion

Lancashire County Council this week agreed to provide £250,000 upfront to allow work to start on site to take advantage of lower traffic levels during the summer.

The £13.8m. programme of improvements to junctions and nearby local roads between Junction 6 at Whitebirk and Junction 14 at Colne, currently known as the Burnley Pendle Growth Corridor, has secured £8m. from Government through the Lancashire Growth Deal.

The full programme will see work take place over the next three years along the corridor to unlock further road capacity by improving traffic management at roundabouts, public transport and cycling facilities, and links to key business and future housing sites.

This week’s decision by Lancashire County Council gives the green light for the first phase of work to start on junction 12 of the M65 in August, which will see kerbs, ducting and pedestrian footways adjusted and cycling facilities added.

Work to follow on from this will see traffic signals added to the junction roundabout, and further work to nearby junctions at Kenyon Road/Churchill Way, and the B&Q roundabout (Churchill Way and A682) to improve traffic flow, cycling and pedestrian facilities.

The improvements will support the expansion of the Lomeshaye employment site, Riverside Business Park and the development of Brierfield Mill.

The work, estimated to cost £1.4m., will start on August 17th and take approximately 22 weeks, due for completion around the end of January 2016.

County Coun. John Fillis, Cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Improvements to the Burnley Pendle Growth Corridor are a key priority outlined in our East Lancashire Highways and Transport Masterplan.

“These improvements will create the room on our roads for extra traffic which will result from the creation of new jobs at employment sites around the M65 over the coming years.

“It’s vital to have the road capacity already in place to give businesses the confidence to invest, knowing that their employees can get to work, and deliveries can be made on time. We’re also making it easier for people to consider alternatives to the car by improving cycling, pedestrian, and public transport infrastructure.

“The full funding package for the growth corridor improvements is due to be finalised in the coming months and I’ve agreed to initial funding to get the work at junction 12 underway and take advantage of lower traffic levels during the summer, which will help to minimise delays.”

Local contributions of up to £5.8m. will be met by Lancashire County Council, district councils, and European and Regional Growth Funding (ERDF).

Leader of Pendle Council, Coun. Mohammed Iqbal, who leads on economic development, said: “Although there’ll be short term pain, there’ll be long term gain. Once complete it will provide an essential boost to our economy and create jobs in the medium to long term.

“The improvements will make Pendle much better connected. The improvements to junction 12 will be a vital step in making Northlight, our flagship PEARL project at Brierfield Mill, a major destination for the North West, creating hundreds of new jobs.

“New traffic flow at junction 13 by Nelson and Colne College will ease congestion and will create better access for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to our Riverside Business Park in Barrowford.”