M65 roundabout work at Nelson postponed until 2025 - but Burnley to benefit from town junction upgrade

The eastern roundabout of junction 13 of the M65 (Google image)
The eastern roundabout of junction 13 of the M65 (Google image)

Highways bosses have rethought how to spend almost £2m earmarked for upgrading Lancashire’s roads.

Four new schemes are set to be funded after previous projects were either amended or postponed.

The Rose Grove junction in Burnley is set for a 3m upgrade

The Rose Grove junction in Burnley is set for a 3m upgrade

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Lancashire County Council was awarded £4.6m from the government’s National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) in 2017 - and cabinet members have approved the reallocation of some of the cash.

The biggest change is the postponement of a plan to redesign one of the two roundabouts at junction 13 of the M65 motorway, after it emerged the overhaul would actually worsen delays in the short-term.

Traffic modelling revealed that it would take until 2022 for the increased stops caused by the proposed addition of traffic lights on the eastern roundabout at Scotland Road to be outweighed by increased delays caused by a forecast growth in the volume of traffic. The junction is not expected to reach its full capacity until 2025.

"It seems pointless to spend that amount of money [£1.6m] on that roundabout to make it worse for [several] years," said County Cllr Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways.

"In 2025, I will make sure the money is available [for the original scheme]," he added.

Much of the cash reserved for the scheme will now be redirected to help relieve congestion at the Rose Grove junction in Burnley, where the A679 meets the A646. There is a £1.5m funding gap in a £3m project already planned for the location - and the reallocated funding will enable it to go ahead.

The scheme is also intended to make the junction safer for pedestrians by providing crossing facilities in all directions. Work is expected to take just under two years to complete.

Meanwhile, in Preston, a review will be undertaken of every traffic-light controlled junction on one of the main routes through the city to ensure they are operating efficiently.

The signals along a three-mile stretch of the A59 - between Guild Way to the west of County Hall and London Road at the Capitol retail park - will be assessed to check that they are helping to keep traffic flowing.

The £200,000 study will include analysis of how each of the junctions interacts with the others. It is hoped that the analysis will provide short-term improvements in journey times as well as generating evidence for any future bid for government funding to carry out more comprehensive work at the various locations.

A previous application to the NPIF - for what council officers describe as “large scale infrastructure changes” - was unsuccessful.

Plans to improve the operation of junction 31 of the M6 at Salmesbury are still being developed, with a traffic signal efficiency study being undertaken in the short-term.

However, highways officers have concluded that the nearby junction of the A59 and A677, close to the Swallow Hotel, will not require a significant upgrade for the next decade - in spite of the fact that it is a key route connecting the area's developing Enterprise Zone to the motorway network. Major works were last carried out at the location back in 2009.

A £0.5m contingency fund for all of the planned upgrade works has also been created - if any of it remains after the projects have been completed, additional proposals will be drawn up on how to spend it.