There’s some way to go before the new link from Lytham St Annes to the M55 is completed and open to traffic, which is likely to be early 2024, however, the road structure is already beginning to emerge after work started at the end of June.
Construction has begun at the existing Whitehills roundabout to the north, with base foundations having been laid for the first 1.4km towards where it will eventually meet Heyhouses Lane near the Cypress Point development site.
This has so far involved the laying of 21,000 square metres of high strength geotextile with 11,000 tonnes of stone on top to form a drainage layer. This compacts the peaty ground on the alignment of the road, helping to stabilise it in readiness for the construction of the upper layers, and is also used by the construction team for access. Equipment has also been installed to monitor the ground as it settles, along with pipework as part of the drainage system for the road.
Archaeologists and ecologists are working with the construction team to oversee the removal of vegetation and topsoil.
Further work has taken place to install ducting so that high voltage overhead powerlines can be diverted below ground.
County Councillor Charlie Edwards, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We have a series of professional and dedicated teams on site making good progress with this vital project.
“I am pleased to hear there is local interest in how it is getting on, as this will bring a huge improvement to travel in the area.
“At this stage, I would like to thank all partners in this project for the work so far and would encourage all local residents to keep their eyes peeled for further updates.”
Coun Karen Buckley, leader of Fylde Borough Council, said: “Residents have waited so long for this road I’ve lost count of the times I heard people say ‘it will never be built’.
“But now promises are coming good and construction is underway. This link to the M55 will make all the difference for commuters and will greatly enhance access to Fylde for tourists and visitors. I can’t wait for its completion.”
Debbie Francis OBE, chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: “The LEP invested in this scheme to not only provide an important transport link but also improve access to the nearby Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone and unlock vital local jobs and homes on the Fylde.
“Whilst there is still a way to go before the road is open, it is brilliant to see progress and the scheme beginning to take shape.”
Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “I have fought hard for this new road which will bring enormous benefits for people living in Lytham and St Annes and will help unlock the economic potential of our communities.
“I am pleased to see no time is being wasted and the teams on site are making good progress.
“Updates from the team show how the road is taking shape and that the first layer of what will be the carriageway is already being laid.
“After dealing with so many issues and challenges it is fantastic to see work is going well.”
The M55 to Heyhouses Link Road will improve access between Lytham St Annes and the M55, relieve congestion on smaller local roads, and support the commercial viability of local housing and business development sites.
The road is being funded thanks to contributions from or managed through the Department for Transport, Highways England, the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Lancashire County Council, Fylde Borough Council, and secured from development.
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