Preston Western Distributor and East-West Link Road

Sign up for updates

Latest update

We are building a major new road - the Preston Western Distributor, which will link Preston and southern Fylde to the M55 motorway.

Scheduled to open early in 2023, this £200m road scheme is the biggest new road programme in the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal.

It will help to promote new housing and business development in the area, while increasing capacity on the existing local road network.

The Preston Western Distributor will link the A583 and the M55 motorway and will involve the construction of:

  • a new motorway junction
  • four new bridges, and
  • three underpasses

The scheme also includes two new roads connecting to new and existing housing areas of North West Preston and Cottam. The new East-West Link Road and Cottam Link Road will provide convenient access to the Preston Western Distributor, avoiding already congested local routes.

Plan ahead - road closures for works

21 to 24 January: M55 full closure between Junction 1 and 3

The construction of the new junction 2 is well underway and removal of the old footbridge across M55 will be carried out. To enable the demolition and removal of the bridge, in a safe and controlled manner, a closure in both directions is required.

The closure will take place between junction 1 and junction 3 from 8pm on Friday January until 6am on Monday 24 January.

Please ensure you plan your journey ahead using the diversions in place (as shown below).

M55 diversion route

Permanent closure of Maxy Lane

Maxy Lane will be permanently shut between Sandy Lane and Cherry Tree Farm. There will be no access for vehicles or pedestrians after this time and the road will not reopen.

Blackpool Road - Second Phase

Work to construct the new junction on Tabley Lane for the EWLR has now commenced. Phase 2 of the new road layout has now started on Blackpool Road North side, a section of Riversway was diverted onto a new temporary road to keep the traffic flowing during the works on the North side of the junction. Work will begin diverting existing underground services, undertaking earthworks, installing all new drainage, ducting, and kerbing the new road before surfacing the new layout. We anticipate the works to last through to Spring 2022.

Temporary closure of Bartle Lane

Part of Bartle Lane is closed for construction on Bartle Lane Bridge and the stretch of the Preston Western Distributor Road through Bartle. A road closure is in place at approximately 240 metres from the junction of Lea Lane for safety reasons.

Motorists are required to divert via the signed diversion along Lea Lane, Sidgreaves Lane, Hoyles Lane and Sandy Lane (also operating in reverse). Pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders will not be able to travel through the road closure. Properties located on Bartle Lane can be accessed via Sandy Lane, but not Lea Lane.

It is expected that Bartle Lane will reopen in summer 2022 where traffic on Bartle Lane will travel over the Preston Western Distributor Road on the newly-constructed Bartle Lane Bridge. 

Bartle Lane closure - diversion route

Darkinson Lane closure



View the fly through of the route for the Preston Western Distributor.


Our contractor Costain have a dedicated Community Relations Officer Sarah Sunderland who can be contacted with any queries about the scheme by email at or by calling 01772 808061. We aim to respond to any queries within two working days.

Construction started in September 2019.

These are the latest planned timescales to complete this road programme, as with any construction project of this scale, this timetable may be vary:

Work description Date
Ecological mitigation Early October 2019 - Summer 2020
Hodder Aqueduct diversion Early January 2020 - Summer 2020
Lea Viaduct construction Early January 2020 - Summer 2022
Savick Viaduct construction February 2020 - December 2022
Motorway Bridge Autumn 2020 - Autumn 2021
Lea Viaduct construction over Railway Christmas Day - Boxing Day 2020
Bartle Lane Bridge Summer 2021 - Summer 2022
East West Link Road Summer 2021 - Summer 2022
Cottam Link Road Autumn 2021 - Autumn 2022
Road open Spring 2023

As the working age population in Lancashire is decreasing, we need to build on the sustained economic growth to keep young people in the area and bring in more skilled workers.

The transport network serving Preston and the wider area is also becoming increasingly congested.

We need to make sure that the road infrastructure supports our ambitious plans across North West Preston including 5,500 new homes.

Building new road capacity will:

  • Provide direct access to new housing developments.
  • Provide an alternative to avoid rush hour traffic in the city centre
  • Improve access to the motorway from the Enterprise Zone at Warton.
  • Improve our existing roads and local centres.
  • Help to prioritise and promote walking and cycling.
  • Support delivery of a new parkway rail station at Cottam.

Preston Western Distributor

  • 2.5 mile long dual carriageway, national speed limit (70mph), with an off highway shared cycleway and footway.
  • New junction at A583/A5085 Blackpool Road/Riversway (which would allow for a future road link across the River Ribble).
  • A new roundabout junction to link to Cottam Way to a potential new Cottam Parkway rail station.
  • A second new roundabout serving the North West Preston development area by means of the East West Link Road and the existing local highway network by means of Lea Lane and Sidgreaves Lane.
  • Bridged by Bartle Lane and connects to the motorway network with a new Junction 2 on the M55 with minimal disturbance to the Bartle Wetland Biological Heritage Site.

East-West Link Road

  • 2 mile long single carriageway, varying speed limit between 30-40mph with a shared use cycleway and footway.
  • New roundabout junction on Lightfoot Lane approximately 400 metres west of the Wychnor junction.
  • Forms a junction with Tabley Lane which avoids all residential properties.
  • Creates a new junction on Sandy Lane which it crosses.
  • Joins the new roundabout on Preston Western Distributor at the junction of Lea Lane and Sidgreaves Lane.

Cottam Link Road

  • Forms a short section, 0.4 mile long single carriageway linking Preston Western Distributor and Cottam Way.
  • Provides access to the possible location for a potential new Cottam Parkway rail station.
  • Avoids the loss of existing properties and removes passing traffic from the junction, and immediate vicinity of Lea Endowed CE Primary School at Sidgreaves Lane and Lea Lane.

This is a City Deal scheme and has been made possible due to the partnership agreement between the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, Lancashire County Council, Preston City Council, South Ribble Borough Council, central government and Homes England.

City Deal is helping to deliver accelerated infrastructure, homes and jobs across Preston and South Ribble, with wider benefits to Lancashire. It is supporting the creation of more than 20,000 new private sector jobs and over 17,000 new homes built across the area, along with new school places, open green spaces and new health provision to cater for a growing population and workforce.

Find out more about the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal

Funding for these new roads is coming from the Department for Transport, Highways England, the county council, City Deal and the Lancashire Growth Deal.

The construction of the scheme is being carried out by Costain, on behalf of the county council. Costain also built the Bay Gateway which links parts of Lancaster, Morecambe and Heysham with junction 34 of the M6.

You cansign up to get email updatesabout the scheme.

If you have any questions email:

The scheme received full planning approval in November 2018 and in March 2019, the Secretary of State for Transport confirmed the Compulsory Purchase and other legal Orders necessary to enable the roads to be constructed.