Lancashire County Council’s cabinet has agreed a major package of improvements to roads after receiving an extra £15.9m from the Department for Transport.
It includes a £9.2m project to maintain the A601(M) motorway link near Carnforth, as well as repairs to roads damaged by storms, projects to fix rural ‘moss roads’, and vital maintenance to traffic lights, streetlights and drainage systems.
The extra funding has been received from the DfT’s Infrastructure Investment Fund, which provides councils with opportunities to bid for funding for various transport priorities.
The bulk of the funding will be used for a scheme to make major changes, and repairs, to the A601(M) at Carnforth which links the M6 motorway with the A6, and also provides access to a truck stop. Three bridges supporting the road will be refurbished to maintain their strength, and a bridge which carries the local Nether Beck road over the A601(M) will be removed and replaced with a junction at ground level. It is also proposed to remove the motorway status of the road, which will allow the creation of a new access to a future development site to benefit the local economy. The county council has examined a number of options for maintaining the A601(M) with this being the lowest cost option over 30 years.
£2.5m has been set aside for further repairs to bridges, retaining walls, and drainage systems which were damaged during storms Ciara and Dennis in February 2019. Most of the funding is needed for repairs to 8 bridges and structures in Rossendale, along with £201k to replace a footbridge in South Ribble, £149k for repairs to a bridge in Hyndburn, and over £19k for repairs to a footway and collapsed drains in Wyre district.
A further £2.2m has been allocated for preventative maintenance to road surfaces. This includes £547,000 for repairs to 4 ‘moss roads’ in West Lancashire. These rural roads present a particular maintenance challenge as the peat they are built upon is prone to drying out over the summer, affecting the foundations of the road, which can then deteriorate further when moisture penetrates any cracks and freezes during the winter.
£1.95m will also be invested in repairs and replacements for streetlights, traffic signals and drainage systems.
County Councillor Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “I’m very pleased that the strong evidence we have presented for the need for extra investment in these transport priorities has been recognised with the award of this significant extra funding.
“The project to repair and make changes to the A601(M) is much needed and will ensure this important stretch of road, and the bridges supporting it, continue to contribute to the development of the local economy in Carnforth.
“The investment in this scheme is also timely as it will allow us to carry out the full range of repair and refurbishment work which is needed to the bridges in one go without having to spend extra on more minor work which would otherwise be needed in the interim to maintain their safety.
“We have already committed £1.64m to repair storm damage which is a priority in the next year to prevent further deterioration, and we’ll now be able to carry out more of the repairs which are needed to bring our infrastructure back into full working order.
“The evidence shows that our recent focus on investing in the A, B and C roads which are so important to our daily lives has improved their overall condition, and I’m pleased this funding gives us the opportunity to prioritise repairs for some of our rural routes which receive less traffic but are just as vital to our rural economy.”