Improved M65 Junction foundation for jobs growth
The first major highway scheme in a programme of improvements to boost access to employment areas and future housing sites along the M65 corridor between Blackburn and Colne has been completed.
The £12.1m programme of work to junctions and nearby local roads from junction 7 at Accrington to junction 13 at Barrowford is known as the Hyndburn-Burnley-Pendle Growth Corridor. The programme is part of the £250m Growth Deal secured from government by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
Lancashire County Council has now completed the first road scheme within the programme to reduce congestion and improve access to employment areas near junction 12 at Brierfield.
The improvements include adding traffic lights on the motorway roundabout to control traffic using the roundabout and make it easier for vehicles to leave Lomeshaye industrial estate. New infrastructure has also been added to make it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to use.
Further improvements have been made at the nearby Colne Road/Churchill Way roundabout, including a new off-road cycle route to allow cyclists to reach the industrial estate from this point.
The final part of the scheme to be finished in August was a new traffic signal junction at Kenyon Road/Churchill Way to help to ease delays, particularly for vehicles leaving the industrial estate at the end of the working day.
The £0.9m scheme supports the expansion of the Lomeshaye site, as well as Riverside Business Park and the £32m transformation of Brierfield Mill into Northlight.
Graham Cowley, chair of the LEP’s Growth Deal Management Board, said: “As part of our strategic vision for the Hyndburn-Burnley-Pendle Growth Corridor, the LEP is investing in improving connectivity along the M65 and surrounding roads along with the creation of new employment sites and a number of housing schemes. I’m pleased to see this part of the plan completed.
“The growth corridor project is one of a series of major, strategic investments in infrastructure that are a key part of the LEP’s ambitious programme to transform Lancashire’s economy, drive growth and create tens of thousands of jobs and homes over the next decade.”
County Councillor John Fillis, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "The growth corridor programme is a key feature of our plans to ensure that Lancashire has the right transport infrastructure to support future economic growth.
"It is vital that companies looking to invest in this area have the confidence that their goods and employees can move efficiently. These improvements also support people to use alternatives to the car by making it easier to access this area by cycling or walking."
Leader of Pendle Council, Councillor Mohammed Iqbal, who leads on economic development, added: "It’s fantastic to see the first phase of these highway schemes now complete.
“By making Pendle much better connected we expect to see more jobs, more industry and more financial security locally.
“The improvements to junction 12 are a vital step in making Northlight, our flagship PEARL project at Brierfield Mill, a major destination for the North West.
"And there’s now improved access to Lomeshaye Industrial Estate, helping us to create more space for businesses which means more jobs for local people."
Similar improvements are currently underway at M65 junctions 7 and 13 as part of the growth corridor programme, with all work due for completion during 2018.
Schemes to improve facilities at Burnley's Rose Grove and Manchester Road railway stations as part of the Hyndburn Burnley Pendle Growth Corridor programme were completed in 2014 and 2015.