Costain has completed a £207m road scheme linking parts of Preston and the Fylde to the M55 motorway. The scheme opens to the public today and consists of a brand-new motorway junction, the M55 Junction 2, a dual carriageway and two connecting link roads.
The work has been delivered on behalf of Lancashire County Council, as part of the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal.
Andy Clarke, Integrated Transport Director at Costain, said: “This transformative scheme has been delivered on time and on budget despite significant engineering challenges and against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. I am very proud of the project team who achieved full marks in the Considerate Constructors Scheme, working hard to create a positive legacy of skills in the community.
“This complex major project will improve people’s lives by reducing congestion on the existing road network, helping communities to thrive and unlocking new economic opportunities for Preston and Lancashire.”
Ecology and nature conservation were important considerations for the project. The plans were designed to restore farmland and to protect and enhance habitats for species including great crested newts, bats, birds, brown hare, hedgehogs and common toads. The project has delivered a net gain in biodiversity of around 10%.
In addition, all the removed soil was kept onsite and reused for landscaping around the new roads. Together with other initiatives such as renewable energy use and eliminating diesel across the project, we saved more than the equivalent of 6000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
The new dual carriageway is named after Edith Rigby in honour of Preston’s most famous suffragette, and links the A583 Blackpool Road and Riversway with the new junction 2 on the M55. Two smaller roads connect the dual carriageway to new and existing housing areas. As well as improving access to the motorway, the new roads provide shared walking and cycling lanes which promote active travel, and support delivery of a proposed railway station at Cottam.
Mark Rawstron, Chair of the City Deal Executive, said: “The City Deal was a landmark agreement designed to transform Preston and South Ribble through the creation of new jobs and homes. The funding from City Deal has been instrumental in enabling growth through the expansion and improvement of transport infrastructure in the region, at scale. The Preston Western Distributor is a great example of this strategy in action.”
Phill Wilson, Project Manager, Lancashire County Council, said: “Costain has played a vital part in the development, design and construction process for the Preston Western Distributor Project from commencing their involvement in 2016. This project has been an excellent example of how finding the right partner though the Early Contractor Involvement process can produce the cooperative team necessary for such a complex and challenging project.”