The opening of the Heysham M6 Link is now just months away as road builders Costain pull out all the stops to get the job finished on time.
The road will complete the long-awaited connection from the Heysham and Morecambe peninsula to Junction 34 of the M6 – a 4.8km dual carriageway with a footpath and cycleway along the entire route.
Lancashire County Council say the project is still on budget – with the final cost amounting to £130.2m including design costs. The council is currently looking at an official name for the road.
Members of the public will have the chance to vote for their favourite from a choice of five next month.
Morecambe Town Council has put forward Bay Connect, Heysham Highway, Lancaster Bypass, Commerce Way and Eric Morecambe Highway as possible contenders.
Andrew Langley, Costain project manager, said the wet weather had hampered progress, but the scheme should still be completed by the autumn.
He said: “We had another successful year in 2015 with all the structures well on their way and nearing completion to the junctions.
“The mainline roadworks from Shefferlands to the A6 look close to the end product.
“We will be focusing on the remainder of the mainline carriageway and motorway sliproads, whilst completing the Lune West Bridge deck.
“The wet weather experienced since October has naturally impacted the schedule and completion date.
“We will be working very hard to recover the time back in order to complete the scheme by autumn 2016.”
Mr Langley said the two Welly Walks held last year had raised a lot of money for St John’s Hospice and the Costain 150 Foundation, whilst helping people understand the complexity and scale of this fantastic project.
He added: “We’d like to thank people for their continued support and patience while we build the link road which will connect the Heysham peninsula directly to the M6.”
John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “The wet weather of recent weeks has caused some delays, but Costain are making good progress and we’re now just months away from opening the road and starting to realise all the benefits of better connections to the Heysham peninsula.
“We’re currently thinking through the options for how to celebrate what will be a real landmark day.”
The name for the road will be used on signposts, maps and the internet and will become the authorised, formal name used when describing the road.
l Visit www.lancashire.gov.uk/heyshamlink after February 25 to vote for your favourite.
How the sites are making progress:
Torrisholme Road Bridge
The reinforced concrete deck works were completed ahead of schedule in early November. The final stages of earthworks to the wingwalls is ongoing and will be completed in the new year. This will be followed by installing the precast concrete base units and edge beams before finally waterproofing and installing the vehicle barrier.
Lancaster Road Bridge
The work required to realign the A6 Lancaster Road and construct Lancaster Road Bridge which will carry the existing A6 over the Heysham to M6 Link is progressing well. The stone facing and earthworks on either side of the new bridge are now complete. The precast concrete parapet beam has now been installed. This will be followed by deck waterproofing and vehicle parapet installation.
Foundry Lane Bridge
Work continues to extend the existing Foundry Lane Bridge which carries the road over the M6. This work is required to accommodate the new northbound slip road under Foundry Lane Bridge. Foundry Lane will re-open towards the summer of 2016.
Milestone Canal Bridge
The deck is substantially complete with the precast concrete parapet due to be finished soon. Masonry cladding continues and waterproofing of the deck is on the way. Costain is awaiting dryer weather in order to complete.
Folly Rail Bridge
Major works are mostly complete on the structure.
The beams were installed in August - September with deck works to Beaumont Bridge well on the way. The deck works for Beaumont Occupation Bridge have now commenced and will continue into the new year. The structures are due to be complete and open in spring 2016.
Works to complete the central Islands on Caton Road and final junction reconfiguration works are well on the way to completion with works programmed to move into their final phases in front of the Holiday Inn in the new year to then await connection on to the Lune Bridge towards the end of the project.
The work required to realign the A6 Lancaster Road and construct Lancaster Road Bridge which will carry the existing A6 over the Heysham to M6 Link is progressing well with the new bridge expected to open to traffic at the end of March 2016. Progress is also being made with the stone facing and earthworks on either side of the new bridge construction.
Work is continuing to fully reconstruct the existing A683/Northgate junction and carriageway. The civils and surfacing works are now complete, allowing Northgate and the A683 upto Mellishaw roundabout to re-open to two-way traffic again prior to Christmas. Work will continue on the remaining section of the A683 from Northgate to Morecambe Road including the new junction of Hadrian Road onto the A683. The heavy rainfall experienced in November and December delayed progress of these works.
At Morecambe Road junction work continues on the west side with the highway construction for the new signal controlled junction being constructed as well as ongoing service diversions. Traffic has begun to use the new Hadrian Link allowing the final phase of surfacing works to be carried out. Works have also started at Morecambe Road School to provide additional waiting space for vehicles within the school grounds in order to reduce congestion on Morecambe Road at peak times.
The southbound on-slip is due to open to traffic in January 2016 which will allow works to the southbound off-slip to go into the final phases ready for opening both sliproads fully in May 2016. The new northbound sliproads are estimated to open more towards the summer 2016. Further closures and restrictions will be required as the scheme nears completion to tie in new sections of carriageway to the existing ones.