The Planning Inspectorate has agreed to examine Highways England’s £100m plans for a new dual carriageway between Windy Harbour and Skippool near Poulton-le-Fylde in Lancashire.
The proposal, to bypass the existing A585, has been made as part of the government’s £15bn Road Investment Strategy (RIS).
The Planning Inspectorate will scrutinise the proposal and invite public response. Later, the Secretary of State will decide if the new road can be built.
The 2.7-mile Windy Harbour-Skippool section is one of the most congested along the 11.5-mile road linking Fleetwood to the M55. The Shard and Little Singleton junctions are particular congestion bottlenecks.
Unveiled as the preferred route in October 2017, the southern bypass proposal has been refined in response to public feedback, with a signalised junction replacing a roundabout at the western, Poulton end of the new bypass and the removal of a proposed Grange Road junction.
Highways England said that by reducing congestion, especially around Little Singleton, Shard Road and Skippool junctions, journey times will be significantly improved.
The project is also expected to improve socio-economic benefits by supporting the economic growth potential in Wyre and Fylde and the planned residential developments in the local area.
It is also aimed at improving the safety of pedestrians, equestrians and cyclists around the existing A585.
Highways England project manager David Hopkin said: “We are delighted the Planning Inspectorate has accepted what is effectively a planning application for the bypass we adopted as our preferred option last year and have since refined in response to further public feedback in a statutory consultation in the spring.
“Almost everyone in the area agrees that something needs to be done about congestion along this section of the A585 – and the new road will help secure and improve opportunities for housing and jobs in this part of Lancashire and contribute to improved connections to the whole of the motorway network.”
The Planning Inspectorate’s examination of the proposal marks the penultimate milestone in the life of the project before the commencement of construction before the end of March 2020, subject to the approval from the Secretary of State.
Image: An aerial view of the proposed Poulton junction of the new A585 bypass - with a roundabout idea now replaced by traffic lights. Photo: Courtesy of GOV.UK.