A £4.78m scheme to relieve congestion for drivers around junction 32 of the M6 near Preston will begin later this week, the Highways Agency announced today.
Up to 140,000 drivers a day travel around the junction which is north east of Preston at Broughton, where the motorway meets the M55 to Blackpool.
A total of 2.6 miles of the southbound carriageway is to be widened north and south of the junction in a five-month project designed to be completed in June.
The scheme will provide an extra lane through the junction with the new three lane section beginning around 2km before the junction and ending around 1km after.
Both the M6 exit slip for the M55 westbound and M6 on-slip for eastbound M55 traffic will also be modified to accommodate the extra lane. A new, intermittent, hard shoulder will also be provided.
Other work as part of the project includes:
- Installation of new safety barrier
- New road lighting and signs
- New overhead gantry
- New drainage system
The Highways Agency has already taken the opportunity to undertake some preparatory work on the gantries during major refurbishment works on the Three Stiles Bridge and Barton Lane Bridge which were completed before Christmas.
Work being carried out by the Highways Agency contractors means some overnight closures of the M55 slip roads and southbound carriageway. Otherwise, two narrow lanes will run on the southbound carriageway during the day with a 50mph speed limit enforced by speed cameras. There will also be a width restriction on wider vehicles in the outside lane of 1.95m. One lane only will run at night.
Restrictions will be lifted for the Easter and Spring bank holidays as this part of the motorway network is often busier on Sundays and holidays due to the interchange with the M55 Blackpool route as well as the M6 being a key route to the Lake District.
Bob Baldwin, Highways Agency area performance manager for north Lancashire and Cumbria, said: "This scheme will provide reduced journey times and more reliable journey times for our customers, particularly on Sundays and bank holidays.
"Obviously the route will be subject to narrow lanes, speed restrictions and occasional carriageway closures over the next five months but we will work hard to publicise these and any diversions and minimise the disruption to drivers. We would ask customers to be patient while we work to get this scheme completed in time for summer."