Lancashire County Council today hailed the opening of the new Bay Gateway link road as a catalyst for the region.
The £140m project linking the Heysham peninsula to the M6 at junction 34 is the biggest new road to be built in Lancashire for decades – and the authority said it is expected to boost economic growth by providing better access to the peninsula from the Fylde and elsewhere.
The biggest new road to be built...in decades
Funded by £29m from County Hall and £111m from the Department for Transport, the road has been under construction since January 2014 by Costain.
The 4.8km-route completes 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.
It will also help to ease congestion in Lancaster city centre.
The road has already been credited with bringing economic benefits to the area, with more than 100 local long-term unemployed people being trained and employed during construction.
It is predicted that for every £1 invested in the road, the local economy will benefit by £4.
The project has seen 2m cubic metres of earth moved and 11 major new structures being built to cross existing roads, the West Coast Main Line railway, the Lancaster Canal and the River Lune.
Efforts have also been made to reduce environmental impact, with the scheme’s nine habitat creation areas ensuring an overall gain in biodiversity following construction, and 13 new trees due to be planted for every one felled.
Work on the entire project is due to be completed during spring 2017.