Plan could see motorway widened in Lancashire

Road improvements: Motorists using the M61 roundabout at its junction with the M65 could benefit from new investment in the infrastructure
Road improvements: Motorists using the M61 roundabout at its junction with the M65 could benefit from new investment in the infrastructure

A Lancashire motorway could be widened as part of a major transport plan.

The county council is to launch a plan to identify how transport links can be transformed across Lancashire.

The suggestions, involving spending an initial £150 million, include looking at the possibility of creating an extra lane on the M65 from Clayton Brook where the motorway is joined by the M61, as well as improving junctions on the A59, which runs from Preston to North Yorkshire

A six-week consultation on the preliminary strategy will start on October 23.

Labour County Councillor John Fillis, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for highways and transport, said of the scheme: “By working with local people and partners we can build a blueprint that will deliver prosperity in Lancashire and beyond.

“Funding for major transport schemes is being devolved from the government to local transport bodies, presenting a huge opportunity to tackle some of the issues which will otherwise hold our economy back, and invest in improvements to foster growth.

“We are producing a set of five Highways and Transport Masterplans to cover all 12 districts of Lancashire and, where necessary, neighbouring areas, which outline the big picture for transport and form the basis to plan for the impact of future growth upon the transport network.

“In East Lancashire those Local Plans which set out strategic housing and business sites are not yet fully in place, and the robust evidence needed to demonstrate the case for new and improved infrastructure has not been established.

“This masterplan therefore aims to present the big issues we face to ensure people and goods can move efficiently on East Lancashire’s transport network, and propose where studies should focus to get a better understanding of the problems and potential solutions.”

The plan will focus on improving journeys into East Lancashire, in key areas including junction 8 to 13 of the M65, the A59 between Samlesbury and North Yorkshire, and the A671/A6068 route between Whalley and junction 8 of the M65. It proposes a change to the route for a bypass to tackle congestion in the North Valley area of Colne and Foulridge in Pendle.

It would see just over two-and-a-half miles of road linking the M65 to the A56 north of Foulridge.