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Work on new M55 junction hits top gear

Written by on 07/06/2021

Work to provide a new motorway junction supporting thousands of new jobs and homes in central Lancashire hits top gear this month.

Highways England revealed today (Monday 7 June) that beams for a new bridge over the M55 to help form the new junction – the long-awaited new junction 2 – will start to be lifted into place from next week.

The new junction – between Swillbrook and Higher Bartle – is being delivered as part of the £207 million Preston Western Distributor partnership project led by Lancashire County Council. As part of special ‘designated’ funds to support the generation of new jobs and building of new homes, Highways England is contributing £25 million.

Work on the new junction has been going on around the motorway since the PWD project started in October 2019. But this month marks a significant milestone with a start of work to complete the bridge.

Brian Smith, Highways England’s senior project manager, said:

“It’s really exciting to see the new junction finally taking shape. It’s a vital component of the PWD project and as well as supporting the local economy will help relieve congestion pressures at other junctions along the motorway.”

County Councillor Charlie Edwards, cabinet member for highways and transport at Lancashire County Council, said:

“It’s impressive that we have reached on programme an important milestone in the delivery of this vital piece of infrastructure for the economy of the area supporting the delivery of homes and jobs.”

The new bridge, which will be called Becconsall Bridge, will help form a ‘dumbbell’ arrangement with a roundabout each side of the motorway serving the eastbound and westbound entry and exit slip roads.

Work to lift the bridge beams into place will start on Monday (14 June) with 9pm to 6am overnight closures of the motorway in both directions between junction 1 and junction 3 on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights (14, 15 and 16 June). Three consecutive Saturday night closures will also be taking place, between 9pm and 8am, on 19 and 26 June and 3 July. Clearly-signed diversions will be in place when the motorway is closed between the two junctions.

The new Preston Western Distributor road will link Preston and southern Fylde to the motorway and is due to open early next year. More information, including details of the motorway closure diversion routes is available on the PWD webpage.

Highways England is working at the far eastern end of the M55 on Tuesday night (15 June). For one night only, eastbound drivers diverted from junction 3 of the M55 and wanting to join the northnound or southbound M6 will need to do so from junction 33 at Galgate – via the A6 from junction 1 of the M55 at Broughton.