Date revealed for Heysham M6 link opening

The Heysham M6 Link the Bay Gateway officially opens on Halloween, October 31.
The Heysham M6 Link the Bay Gateway officially opens on Halloween, October 31.

An official opening date has been revealed for the Heysham M6 link road.

The Bay Gateway will be opening on October 31, Halloween, giving motorists their first chance to drive on the new road.

The Bay Gateway will connect Heysham Port directly to junction 34 of the M6.

The biggest new road to be built in Lancashire for decades is expected to boost economic growth by providing better access to the Heysham peninsula.

It has been under construction since January 2014.

The 4.8km route will complete the connection from the Heysham peninsula directly to the M6, providing better access to Morecambe and industrial areas which include the Port of Heysham and the Heysham power stations.

The date for the road to open to the public has been scheduled based on current progress with construction, however work on the entire project is due to be completed during Spring 2017, with aspects such as landscaping and signing due to be finished over the winter.

County Councillor John Fillis, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “The opening of the Bay Gateway will be an enormous landmark for Lancashire and I’m very glad we can now look forward to being able to open it at the end of October.

“Lancashire County Council has a proud history of road building, being responsible for the first ever section of motorway when the Preston bypass opened in 1958 – the Bay Gateway is another significant improvement to our transport infrastructure which will benefit the economy of the whole county.

“It will reduce congestion and create local jobs by improving travel to Heysham and Morecambe, and the port, power stations and nearby employment areas.

“As is normal in the early life of a major road scheme, there will be some traffic management including temporary lane restrictions while aspects of the scheme such as landscaping and signing are completed - however it makes sense to be able to realise the benefits of the road for residents and businesses as soon as possible.

“Weather permitting, we expect all activity to be completed by Spring 2017 when we will hold events to mark its official opening.”

The Spring opening is to allow for motorway communication works to be carried out on the M6 and there will be a continuation of the lane restrictions on the M6 up until that time.

People will get a chance to walk the length of the route on Saturday October 29, with Lancashire County Council and Costain teaming up with St John’s Hospice in Lancaster to organise a community walk along the route of the link road.

It will be a unique opportunity for local residents to walk the 4.8km route, before the road is open to traffic. The event will raise money for the hospice and other selected local charities by charging a registration fee in order to walk the almost completed Bay Gateway. Over 700 people have already signed up to do the walk. You can find our more at http://www.sjhospice.org.uk.

The main part of the Bay Gateway scheme involves constructing a 4.8km dual carriageway from the A589 between Morecambe and Lancaster to an upgraded junction 34 on the M6, with additional measures to improve transport in the city, including a major new park and ride site at junction 34.

Heysham port, the third largest in the North West, is developing as a hub for services to Ireland. It is the supply base for major offshore gas fields and wind farms.

The road will reduce congestion in the Lancaster area especially on Caton Road, Morecambe Road and the Greyhound and Skerton bridges, and in Carnforth.

For updates on the work, follow @Heysham_Link on Twitter or visit http://www.lancashire.gov.uk/heyshamlink.