Bosses at Lancashire County Council have approved detailed plans for a £12 million programme to improve the M65 from junction 6 at Whitebirk to junction 14 at Colne.
The £233m Growth Deal with central government, announced last week, identified £8m million for the scheme from the Local Growth Fund, to be delivered over three years from 2015/16 to 2017/18. The additional £4 million will be allocated by the county council as part of the East Lancashire Highways and Transport Masterplan.
Focused on the M65 and its adjacent local road network, the Burnley-Pendle Growth Corridor is made up of a number of existing and future strategic employment sites across the districts of Burnley, Pendle and Hyndburn, many of which are close to the M65 and require effective access to and from it.
Congestion on the highway network during peak periods is likely to worsen as these sites and new housing developments take effect and travel demand increases.
County Coun. John Fillis, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “The prime objective of this £12 million programme is to support economic growth by reducing congestion now and in the future, by improving the reliability of travel times and widening sustainable travel opportunities.
“We are 100% committed to creating the conditions to enable businesses to thrive bringing jobs and prosperity for people across Lancashire.”
County Coun. Azhar Ali, who represents Nelson South, said: “This is welcome news for Pendle and the whole of East Lancashire and will enable the area to realise its great economic potential.
“We know that improving our transport infrastructure will unlock development and create job opportunities for local people, and this programme will do just that.”
Edwin Booth, chairman of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: “The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership is working very hard to create the right conditions for businesses to thrive in Lancashire and the Growth Deal is hugely significant in providing the investment to help us do that.
“Having the right transport infrastructure in place is vital and this scheme will help boost growth across East Lancashire.”
Apart from the stretch of trunk motorway between junctions 6 and 10, which is the responsibility of the Highways Agency, Lancashire County Council is the highway authority for the M65 in the Growth Corridor.
The M65 is a part two-lane/part three-lane motorway and this work will improve those junctions that do not meet current motorway design standards, including introducing traffic signals.
In addition, the work will improve other pinch points on the local road network, including the A646/A679 junction in Rose Grove and various junctions in Burnley town centre.
It also includes improvements to railway station infrastructure on the East Lancashire line, including Rose Grove and Burnley Manchester Road stations.