Plans for a three-mile dual carriageway bypass near Poulton-le-Fylde have been approved by the transport secretary under statutory powers.
Highways England granted a development consent order for the bypass of the A585 that will connect Windy Harbour to Skippool in Lancashire, due to it being considered under the Government’s Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project regime.
The NSIP process aims to fast-track major transport and other schemes.
Main contractor Kier Highways, a subsidiary of Kier Group, is expected to start work in the coming weeks and the scheme is planned to complete in summer 2023.
The development, which is intended to reduce congestion and support economic growth in nearby towns such as Wyre and Skippool, will create a 4.85km-long dual carriageway with four junctions connecting the bypass with existing roads.
The plans also include the conversion of Skippool Junction to a traffic signal-controlled crossroads, and changes to other existing junctions to accommodate U-turning traffic such as buses.
Some work will be carried out to major structures in the local area, too, including the replacement of Skippool Bridge, Lodge Lane Bridge and Grange Footbridge to improve pedestrian safety.
But rural lobby group the Campaign to Protect Rural England lamented the Government’s approval of the scheme. Debra McConnell, Chair of CPRE Lancashire said: “It is a short-sighted approach spending so much public money on outdated road infrastructure.
“For CPRE Lancashire, this represents a missed opportunity to better connect rural Wyre with greener travel modes. We had hoped the Heathrow decision would lead to a review of spending on Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects.”
The project is being delivered through Highways England’s £8.7bn Regional Delivery Partnership framework.