Today we are launching an exciting “Build Our Bypass” campaign - in a bid to see the M65 and Foulridge linked together around Colne by 2021.
Last week, we reported that new proposals had been brought forward by Lancashire County Council for the £40m. “Villages Bypass”.
The plans form part of a major East Lancashire Highways and Transport Masterplan.
And if they are given the go-head would help alleviate traffic problems on North Valley Road and surrounding Colne streets.
In the first phase of the priority scheme, a new junction would be installed off the M65, between Junctions 13 and 14, and would terminate at a new junction just to the north of Foulridge.
We can today reveal the shortlisted routes for the bypass.
They are shown on the map on the previous page and we are urging our readers to share their views by joining in with the county council’s public consultation.
As the map shows, there are six coloured routes – with the brown route currently being favoured by the county council.
Hazel Straw, transport manager, said: “The study we commissioned into ways to improve congestion on the M65 to Yorkshire Corridor has put forward some measures to manage traffic along the Vivary Way and North Valley segments of the road, but the effects of these would be limited which is why the study also considered a range of options for a bypass.
“The shortlisted options presented in the masterplan are very much the first stage of the process in simply indicating possible routes. We think the brown option offers the best opportunity in terms of providing congestion relief and being achievable within the available budget, but nothing has been decided and we’re very interested in hearing what people think during the consultation period.
“We’re planning to hold an event locally during the consultation so that people can ask questions and respond to the plan and will let people know more once it’s been arranged.”
Since being announced, the bypass plans have caused mixed reaction within the community.
For some, there are fears of creating a bottleneck through rural villages, taking business away from North Valley Road, and making an eyesore on the current landscape. But many, including Coun. Dorothy Lord, Coun. Neil Butterworth and Coun. Ian Tweedie, have shown themselves to be in favour of the proposals – believing it would solve many traffic issues.
Those throwing their weight behind our campaign include Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson and local historian Geoff Crambie.
Mr Stephenson said: “I am delighted that Leader Times Newspapers have launched a build our bypass campaign.
“Living on one of the main roads through Colne I experience the traffic congestion on a daily basis when I am not down in Parliament. We need to look at both rail and road improvements across East Lancashire.
“After years of underinvestment the current Governments decision to spend £8.8million on the Todmorden Curve was a welcome boost.
“However the traffic congestion problems in Colne are now amongst the worst in the North West and a solution is desperately needed. “I believe that a bypass which does not prevent the future reopening of the Colne to Skipton Railway line is what is needed, however I am very keen to hear people’s views. I would urge everyone to respond to the public consultation and get in touch with me to make their views known.”
And Mr Crambie added: “It’s most important for the town.
“It has been talked about for years, and of course, there are pros and cons both ways.
“But from the bottom of Lancaster Street you look down and at times the tailback (on North Valley Road) can be over a mile. It’s absolutely horrendous.”
Visit www.lancashire.gov.uk to join in with the consultation.