Lancashire County Council’s highways chief has said improvements are to be made to make journey times within Colne better before the building of a bypass is considered.
County Coun. John Fillis said Lancashire County Council has taken the next step in providing a long term solution to Colne’s traffic problems after the publication of an initial report on the traffic studies carried out around Colne in autumn last year.
The study gives a first, more detailed, look at current traffic on the main roads in and around Colne with the county council publishing it as part of its commitment to an open approach to tackling congestion in Colne.
The report’s findings on traffic travelling into Colne include that:
• Around half this traffic ends its journey in the town, with the other half passing through to reach other destinations;
• Of the traffic passing through the town, most of it travels along the key north–west routes and east–west routes, a trend that is seen throughout the day;
• Traffic between the M65/A56 west of Colne and A6068 east of Colne represents approximately 46% of all through traffic in a day;
• Traffic between the M65/A56 west of Colne and A56 north of Colne represents approximately 43% of all through traffic in a day.
• Just over 60% of traffic moving across the county boundary with Yorkshire uses the A6068 east of Colne
County Coun. Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “This report marks a positive step forward in our understanding of current traffic in and around Colne and will give us a firm basis from which to develop options to solve Colne’s congestion problems.
“We now know that there is real potential to make changes to our roads that will make travel in Colne easier.
“The amount of local traffic taken together with the overall pattern of through movements means that we can first look at how we can improve traffic movements in Colne itself before we need to look at options for a bypass.”
According to the county council, no impact was seen on traffic flows during the surveys as a result of road works on the M65 between July and December last year.
The county council say the findings show that there is no clear case, based on existing traffic, to build a north-south bypass in preference to a more local solution that could potentially serve both Colne traffic and west-east through traffic.
County Hall is now considering options for relieving congestion in and around Colne including the potential for further improvements to the existing A6068 corridor, establishing what could be done to make it easier for traffic to travel east-west through the town, and, if no alternative can be found, whether there is still a case for a Colne-Foulridge bypass or similar to the north west of the town, providing a link between the M65 and the A56.
Once this work has been completed, the county council say they will hold a full public consultation on the possible options that have been developed.
With housing developments and a new retail park in North Valley Road, County Coun. Azhar Ali expects the situation to get worse and is keen to see options out to public consultation as soon as is feasible.
He said: “A lot of work has gone into this comprehensive study to see where traffic goes when it comes off the M65 at Colne.
“It shows one in two journey destinations are Colne itself so this now gives the county council the chance to develop options to make journeys from one end of Colne to the other easier and faster.”