Green light for £123m Heysham M6 link
One of Lancashire's top priority transport projects has received the go-ahead, promising a new era for economic growth and better transport on the Morecambe and Heysham peninsula.Construction of the Heysham to M6 Link road is set to begin this summer after the secretary of state for transport granted approval for the project following a lengthy planning and public inquiry process.
County Councillor Tim Ashton, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “I could not be happier that the Heysham to M6 link road is going to become a reality. The M6 link is more than just a road-building scheme – it will be an engine for economic ! growth for the whole region.”The road will 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. It will also reduce congestion in the Lancaster area especially on Caton Road, Morecambe Road and the Greyhound and Skerton bridges.
The port, the third largest in the North West, is developing as a hub for services to Ireland. It is the supply base for major offshore gas field and wind farms. The road would also improve access to a proposed third nuclear power station.The scheme will bring ongoing regeneration benefits, with 3,000 people due to be employed during construction alone. A minimum of 100 local unemployed people will receive training and jobs during construction. A study has predicted that every £1 invested in the link road will earn £6 for the local community.
Jonathan Barker, president of the Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce, said: “It's great to see that the economic case that Lancaster District Chamber fought so hard to promote has been listened to, and that Central Government's new system for infrastructure planning has been seen to work." The estimated cost of the project is £123m. The Department for Transport have said they will contribute £111m and Lancashire County Council will fund the remaining £12m.