M65 to Yorkshire Study
The East Lancashire highways and transport masterplan which outlined how the roads, rail and cycle networks could be transformed in the future has been published by Lancashire County Council and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.
Both councils are working closely with the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership to develop, approve and fund major transport schemes with a multi-million budget to be devolved by central government from 2015/16.
The East Lancashire highways and transport masterplan is the first step towards making sure we have the right transport network to boost economic growth by supporting new businesses and homes while promoting healthy lifestyles and avoiding gridlock on the roads.
Consultation on a draft plan took place at the end of 2013 across the East Lancashire area, and the published version features changes as a result of feedback received.
What we proposed
Transport for Lancashire is the local transport body for the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership and has already announced six schemes to be delivered by 2024/25 using funding already secured from Government, including:
- £12.4m towards an estimated £13.8m total cost of a scheme to improve the standard and frequency of trains operating between Blackburn and Manchester by doubling parts of the track between Bolton and Blackburn.
- £2.8m towards an estimated £3.2m total cost of vital maintenance to the Centenary Way viaduct which carries the A682 road through the centre of Burnley.
The masterplan set in motion detailed work needed to justify investment in new schemes beyond these. Work will now focus on:
- Improving rail connections between East Lancashire and the growth areas of Preston and Central Lancashire, Manchester and Leeds.
- Measures to reduce congestion and improve connectivity in the key M65 and M66 gateway corridors.
- Ensuring routes into key growth sites continue to function well and support future development.
- Ensuring that the needs of people who live in remote and rural locations to access work, education and health opportunities are met, making best use of funding likely to be available in future.
- Building an effective cycle network linking towns, employment sites and communities.
- Improving local links in the community so that everyone can get to the services and opportunities that they need, from education and employment to leisure and health.
Projects currently being delivered
There are a number of projects that are already in the process of being delivered such as the completion of the Freckleton Street link road, the Pennine Reach
public transport scheme, and improvements to Burnley Manchester Road rail station.
Projects to be further developed
A number of projects which have been identified require further development and consultation, including improvements to the Blackburn town centre orbital route; and new roads in East Darwen and the Fishmoor area of Blackburn to link new housing sites to employment areas and the wider road network.
The masterplan also outlines changes to the way proposals to tackle longstanding congestion problems in the North Valley area of Colne and Foulridge will be developed. Work will begin immediately to introduce measures to relieve congestion and improve pedestrian facilities at junctions on North Valley Road. Work will also continue on the further detail necessary to establish what could ultimately be done along the North Valley to increase capacity in the absence of a bypass as well as detailed consideration of all possible southern routes for an A56 Colne to Foulridge bypass.