Lancashire County Council Cabinet to consider investment in Carnforth motorway link

Councillors are to consider a proposal to change the 'special' status of a road near Carnforth as part of a £9.2m improvement project.

Tuesday, 2nd November 2021, 12:36 pm
Lancashire County Council headquarters at County Hall, Preston. Picture by Neil Cross.

A report to Lancashire County Council' s cabinet seeks approval to begin the process of revoking the special road status of the northern section of the A601(M) which links the M6 motorway and the A6.

The special road status dates from the road's original 1960s construction as part of the M6 Lancaster Bypass, and means it has to be maintained to motorway regulations suitable for heavy traffic travelling at high speeds.

Despite receiving much lower levels of traffic following the extension of the M6 northwards the A601(M) retained its special road status, and has continued to be maintained to motorway standards.

Lancashire County Council has received £9.245m as part of the Department for Transport's Transport Infrastructure Investment Fund to carry out vital repairs to the A601(M), and revoke its special road status to reduce the costs of future maintenance.

The project includes maintenance and improvements to several bridges, resurfacing, repairs and improvements to drainage, and some landscaping beside the road.

County Councillor Charlie Edwards, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "The A601(M) has kept its 'special road' status, which means we have to maintain it to motorway standards, even though it has not been part of the M6 for many decades.

"We've now reached the point in time where the road and its structures need some substantial maintenance, and we've received the funding to do this from the Department for Transport as part of a bid which also proposes to revoke the special road status.

"There is no apparent need to continue maintaining the A601(M) to motorway standards and changing the status of the road will reduce the costs of looking after it in the future.

"I will be asking cabinet to carefully consider this proposal to authorise officers to begin the process needed to change the status of the road, which involves notifying the Secretary of State for Transport of our intentions, followed by a formal public consultation."

It is forecast that the project will deliver savings of £26.9m over 30 years.

The special status of the shorter southern section of the A601(M) was removed in 2020.

This section was added by the county council in 1987 to connect Junction 35 of the M6 with the B6254 east of Carnforth in order to remove quarry traffic from the town centre.