The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s local transport body met yesterday (Wednesday 10 January) to consider the business case for the Preston Western Distributor, representing a considerable investment in the area of £161m.
Transport for Lancashire accepted that the business case demonstrates high value for money and gave its conditional funding approval to the road scheme.
The Full Business Case will also need the approval of the Secretary of State for Transport. It is expected that the Full Business Case will be presented for approval in 2019, with construction scheduled to start on site in Autumn 2019.
The Preston Western Distributor is a 4.3km dual carriageway that will connect the A583 Blackpool Road with the M55 at a new Junction 2, near Bartle.
County Councillor Geoff Driver, leader of Lancashire County Council said: “This road will provide a major new link on the western side of the city, from the M55 towards Blackpool Road and Riversway.
“It will support new housing and business development in the area, provide relief to traffic pressures at junction one of the M55, and reduce congestion in the city centre.
“There will also be opportunities for new bus priority measures, improvements to local public areas and initiatives to encourage walking and cycling.
“This is an important new road for Preston, as well the wider area, improving connections to the Fylde Coast and further afield, especially the national motorway network.”
Jim Carter, chair of the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal, said: “This is by far the largest transport project in the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s Growth Deal programme and one of several major road schemes in the City Deal.
“The Preston Western Distributor scheme is predicted to deliver high value for money with £2.29 in benefits for every pound invested in its delivery. It also has the potential to generate an additional £144m of GVA for the local economy over the 60-year evaluation period, principally through unlocked development.
“This is a positive step forward towards our plans to unlock the potential of the area by helping people to get around and improving the connections between homes and workplaces.”
A single carriageway road will also be created to Cottam Way. Known as the Cottam Link Road, it will join the Preston Western Distributor just north of the Lancaster Canal.
The scheme will also include an East-West Link Road, a 3.4km long single carriageway road linking Lightfoot Lane to the Preston Western Distributor, with separate footways and cycleways along its entire length.
The plans will also facilitate the construction of a new ‘parkway’ railway station at Cottam, on the Preston to Blackpool North line, with park and ride opportunities to the city centre and Blackpool, and further afield to places such as Manchester and Liverpool.
These new roads will support the delivery of the North West Preston strategic housing location which includes around 5,000 homes, and also improve access between the Enterprise Zone site at Warton and the wider road network.
Funding for the new road is coming from the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s Local Growth Fund, through the Lancashire Growth Deal, as well as Highways England and City Deal.
The City Deal is an agreement between the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Preston City Council, South Ribble Borough Council and Lancashire County Council, along with central government and Homes England.
City Deal will help to deliver new infrastructure, new homes and more jobs over the next ten years. It will help to create more than 20,000 new private sector jobs and see over 17,000 new homes built across the area, along with new school places, open green spaces and new health provision to cater for the growing population.
Find out more at www.lancashirelep.co.uk/city-deal.aspx and stay updated on City Deal schemes by following @LancsCityDeal on twitter.