The M55 to Heyhouses Link Road will open tomorrow

Travel on the Fylde coast will be transformed this week when the new M55 to Heyhouses Link Road opens.

The road is due to open at around midday on Friday 28 June. It will complete the existing Lytham St Annes Way by linking the Whitehills Roundabout near the M55 at its northern point, to Heyhouses Lane near Cypress Point at its southern point, greatly improving access between St Annes, Ansdell, Fairhaven, Lytham and the M55, as well as relieving congestion on smaller local roads.

The £27m road has been built to support the commercial viability of local housing sites, existing employment areas and business development sites, with the improved link to the coast being vital to the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone and the Fylde coast's leisure and tourism industry.

Construction of the road began in June 2021, with its completion marking the end of a determined effort over many years by local partners to develop the scheme, and work with national partners to secure the funding needed to build it.

Its benefits are expected to be experienced immediately as thousands of people travel from across Lancashire and beyond to the annual Lytham Festival which begins on Wednesday 3 July.

Phil Durnell, Lancashire County Council director of highways and transport, said: "We're really looking forward to everyone being able to use the new link road from Friday.

"Reaching this point, where the road will soon be ready to open, is the culmination of many years of hard work by the county council and our partners to make the case for its benefits, bring together substantial funding from a number of sources, and engineer and construct the road to the necessary standard in what is a challenging location due to the naturally wet ground conditions.

"Following the initial phase of construction on groundworks, drainage and structures, our own highways team has built this road, and we're very pleased with the result. As well as the vehicle carriageway, there is a shared-use bridleway running alongside it, along with a number of controlled Pegasus crossings suitable for use by equestrians, cyclists and pedestrians.

"The road will immediately improve people's journeys between the Fylde coast and the M55, and bring significant future economic benefits by improving access to the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone, and the many popular tourist destinations which are vital to the local economy.

"I'd ask everyone to pay particular attention to safety when using the road, obey the speed limit, and be patient, as with all new road builds it will take some time for people to become familiar with its layout."

Allan Oldfield, Fylde Council chief executive officer, said: "Lytham St Annes Way will transform the lives of so many residents and visitors to the coast, the towns, and the countryside in Fylde.

"A major road link from the M55 to the heart of the coast will not just provide massive benefit to existing economic activity and events, it will open new opportunities for growth.

"A lot of people have been looking forward to the road opening, and the council is delighted it will be in use from Friday."

The road has been funded thanks to contributions from, or managed through, the Department for Transport, National Highways, the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Lancashire County Council, Fylde Borough Council, and secured from development. The cooperation of developers and landowners has also been instrumental to securing the land needed for the scheme.

Notes to editors

The need for the M55 to Heyhouses Link Road as the completion of Lytham St Annes Way has been recognised in key local planning documents for a number of years, being included in Fylde Borough Council's Local Plan and proposed within the Fylde Coast Transport Masterplan produced by Lancashire County Council.

The road replaces the former Wild Lane which has now been transformed into a bridleway running beside the road on the northern section. On the southern section there is a new shared path for cyclists and pedestrians, providing a continuous sustainable transport corridor along the whole length of the road.

The link road received planning permission in 2012 following a public inquiry, with initial enabling works to prepare for the construction of the road carried out in 2017.

Further preparation work began in January 2019 to relocate communications cabling which crossed the line of the road. Work also took place in early 2021 to construct a concrete slab to protect a high-pressure water main and relocate electricity network infrastructure.

Work on the road itself began in June 2021. The first phase carried out by Duo Operations involved earthworks and installation of drainage to prepare the ground for the road. The carriageway and bridleway has been constructed by Lancashire County Council's in-house highways team.

Picture captions: (1) Sign showing the approach to the link road (2) Final preparations taking place for the road to open (3) The northern link to the road at the Whitehills Roundabout