Lancashire County Council is the closest it has ever been to making the £40m. “Villages Bypass” a reality.
This week, exciting new proposals have been brought forward to see the M65 and Foulridge linked together around Colne by 2021.
In the first phase of the priority scheme, it has been suggested a new junction is installed off the M65, between Junctions 13 and 14. The 4km route would put traffic on to the A56, terminating at a new junction north of Foulridge.
It aims to tackle long-standing congestion problems in the North Valley area of Colne and, unlike previous proposals, will not stop future developments of the Colne to Skipton railway line.
Confirming the proposals, transport planning manager Hazel Straw said: “One of the long outstanding issues is the A56 villages bypass. It has been around for a very long time and not gone anywhere. We are looking at it and how to get it moving again. This is the closest we have ever been.”
If given the go-ahead, the long-awaited route, which forms just part of a major East Lancashire Highways and Transport Masterplan, would be extended past Earby.
Showing his support, County Coun. Azhar Ali said: “I have been campaigning for the bypass for the past 15 years, and this is the nearest we have got. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that the people of Pendle, and in particular the people of Colne, cannot afford to miss.
“We can’t allow people to delay and dither on this – we’ve got to go at this at 100mph. We need to bring businesses and residents together to show the government we mean business and we need investment.”
Coun. Ali went on to say the plans will not affect residents living in the Alkincoats area of town, and his views that the bypass will help make streets like Birtwistle Avenue safer.