Link road 65 years in the making

View of M6 Junction 34.
View of M6 Junction 34.

After three decades of debate, the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, has given the thumbs up to the Heysham to M6 Link road.

Supporters say the £120m route will bring major benefits to Lancashire, creating countless jobs and reducing congestion.

But the scheme has been dogged by delays with campaigners, including the Lancaster Green Party, claiming there are less damaging ways to create growth.

Proposals for the link were first announced in the Road Plan for Lancashire in 1948 and Lancashire County Council has actively been considering it since then.

In that time there have been changes to the route, public consultations, transport plans, amendments and public inquiries.

The dual-carriageway will link the Heysham bypass by Lancaster and Morecambe College with the M6 at junction 34.

The estimated cost of the project is £123m.

The Department for Transport has said it will contribute £111m and Lancashire County Council will fund the remaining £12m.

The aim of the link road is to connect the peninsula directly to the M6, providing better access to Morecambe and industrial areas which include the Port of Heysham and the Heysham power stations.

Highways bosses claim that the road will also reduce congestion in the Lancaster area, especially on Caton Road, Morecambe Road and the Greyhound and Skerton bridges.

The main construction work is scheduled to start in July and the road is expected to be open to traffic by late 2015.

Construction of the link road is expected to employ more than 3,000 people. Around 100 local unemployed people will also receive training and jobs during the project.