Bay Gateway, a £140M road linking Heysham to the M6 has been opened, nearly 70 years after it was first suggested.
The biggest road to be built in Lancashire for decades, Bay Gateway, has been opened and is expected to boost economic growth by proving better access to the peninsula.
The 4.8km route completes the connection from the Heysham peninsula directly to the M6, providing better access to Morecambe and industrial areas which include the Port of Heysham and the Heysham power stations. It will also help to ease congestion in Lancaster city centre.
Originally planned in 1948 in the Road Plan for Lancashire, there is also a remodelled junction, a park-and-ride site for 650 cars and a bridge at Lune West that has been constructed as part of the project.
A total of £111M was funded by the Department for Transport, with the remaining £29M from Lancashire County Council.
County Councillor Jennifer Mein, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “The opening of the Bay Gateway is an enormous milestone for Lancashire. As well as immediately improving to travel in the north of the county, this road will bring major benefits to our economy over the coming decades.
“This has always been far more than just a road building project – it will have a far reaching impact right across the county and beyond – not only reducing journey times, but transforming opportunities for businesses and people seeking employment. “
During the construction, over 100 local long-term unemployed people were trained and employed. The building of Bay Gateway has been dubbed as a huge engineering achievement, with 2 million cubic metres of earth being moved, and 11 major new structures being built to cross existing roads, the West Coast Main Line railway, the Lancaster Canal and the River Lune.
More than 4,000 people took the chance to walk the length of the route on Saturday 29 October, with Lancashire County Council and Costain teaming up with St John’s Hospice in Lancaster to organise a community walk along the route of the link road, to raise money for the hospice and other local charities.
The road has been under construction since January 2014, by Costain.
Andrew Jones, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, said: “Roads are key to helping people get on and get around and boosting the economy, and the Government is investing a record £15 billion to improve journeys.
“This vital new link off the M6 will reduce travel times, ease congestion, create jobs and help deliver economic growth.”
It is predicted that for every £1 invested in the road, the local economy will benefit by £4.