Page last updated at 12:40 GMT, Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Government funds link road plan

Traffic on M6
The government said the road would ease congestion

A controversial three-mile (4.8km) link road to the M6 in Lancashire is to be mainly funded by the government.

The Department for Transport (DfT) will invest 133m to build the Heysham to M6 road, leaving Lancashire County Council to meet the remaining 5m cost.

Supporters insist the road will boost the economy and ease congestion, but critics say it will adversely affect the environment.

Work on the dual carriageway is scheduled to begin in Autumn 2010.

Freight traffic

The new road will bypass the north of Lancaster and connect the existing A683 from the west of the city to junction 34 of the M6 motorway, near Halton.

Twenty-four new structures will be built as part of the project including new bridges crossing the West Cost Mainline, Lancaster Canal and the River Lune.

It is hoped the road will reduce the "significant volume" of traffic which travels through Lancaster city centre to reach the port of Heysham.

Announcing the funding, transport minister Paul Clark said the road would be of particular benefit to freight traffic.

Public inquiry

He said: "This will bring much-needed congestion relief to Lancaster's historic centre, improve road safety and the local environment, as well as providing an opportunity to introduce better public transport.

"The government is committed to investing in transport links, particularly when they help boost economic growth and regeneration."

The project was approved by the government in February 2008 following a public inquiry.

But campaign group Transport Solutions for Lancaster and Morecambe, which is opposed to the project, believes there is still a long road ahead before work can start.

Spokesman David Gate said: "The county [council] still has to get compulsory purchase orders to secure the land which could possibly lead to another inquiry."

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