/ News / Start of work on major road scheme and new motorway junction

Construction has officially begun on a major new road scheme on the west side of Preston, including a new junction on the M55. The £207m Preston Western Distributor scheme will be constructed on the west side of the city from the M55 motorway to a new junction with Blackpool Road at Lea.

Scheduled to open in 2023, this will add additional capacity and help to reduce congestion and queuing on parts of the road network.

It will particularly benefit areas of the city including Fulwood, Ingol, Cottam, Lea and Ashton, and the wider area including the Enterprise Zone at Warton.

The road scheme also includes two new roads connecting to the current and future development of thousands of homes in the Northwest Preston Strategic Housing Site.

Ecological measures will be introduced including new bat roosts, additional great crested newt and toad ponds, barn owl protection measures and new habitats for brown hares and hedgehogs. The design of the viaducts should help to reduce the impact on otter habitats at the Lancaster Canal and Savick Brook.

The scheme will support local economic growth and improve access to the Warton Enterprise Zone.

A ground-breaking ceremony was held on Thursday 24 October to mark the start of construction.

At the turf-cutting ceremony County Councillor Geoff Driver was joined by Jim Carter, Lancashire Enterprise Partnership board member and Chair of the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal; Matthew Brown, leader of Preston City Council; Harry Hancock, Mayor of South Ribble; and Nicola Elsworth from Homes England. They were joined by representatives from all of the partner organisations for the event.

Funding for these new roads is coming from the Department for Transport and the Lancashire Growth Deal, managed by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership. Further funding comes from Highways England and the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal.

The scheme is being constructed by Costain Ltd, on behalf of the county council. Costain also built the award-winning Bay Gateway, which links parts of Lancaster, Morecambe and Heysham with junction 34 of the M6.

The Preston Western Distributor is the biggest new road programme in the City Deal.

City Deal is an agreement between the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership and Preston City Council, South Ribble Borough Council and Lancashire County Council, along with central government and Homes England.

The 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.

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