The final agreement is a result of a 3-year Early Contractor Involvement partnership between Costain and the council. During this period of time the project was the first highway scheme to proceed through the new National Infrastructure Planning process.
The final approval for the scheme was given by the Department for Transport.
The estimated cost for the project is £124.5m and it will involve a full restructuring of Junction 34 of the M6, 4.8km of dual carriageway, 4.5km of new slip-roads, and 12 major structures including a 200m-span crossing of the River Lune. Upon its completion, it will connect Heysham and the Morecambe peninsula directly to the M6.
The site works are scheduled to begin in January 2014 with an expected completion date in 2017.
Lancashire county councillor, John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, remarked: "The link road supports our aspiration to build a strong economic infrastructure throughout Lancashire. Around 3,000 people are due to be employed during construction of the road, and up to 100 local unemployed people will receive training and jobs during construction. I recently visited the depot and 90% of the staff employed on site lived in an LA postcode area.
"The road also provides excellent value for money in terms of considerable benefits for local traffic, businesses and employment, while acting as a catalyst for wider economic growth. A study has predicted that every £1 invested in the link road will earn £4.40 for the economy. The link road has long been one of our top priority transport schemes, and I'm very pleased we now have everything in place to move ahead with building it."
Andrew Wyllie, Costain chief executive said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this important contract, upgrading and refreshing the UK’s transport infrastructure to improve connectivity and asset efficiency. We have worked closely with the Council and all local community stakeholders through the design development and planning process, and we now look forward to continuing the partnership to deliver an excellent outcome for Lancashire."
Photo: Construction Enquirer