Bay Gateway set to open

Jennifer Mein, leader of Lancashire County Council, on the new Bay Gateway road.
Jennifer Mein, leader of Lancashire County Council, on the new Bay Gateway road.
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The Bay Gateway linking Heysham to the M6 at Junction 34 will officially open to traffic today.

David Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, hailed the opening as the start of "a new prosperous chapter for Morecambe and Lunesdale".

No official time has been given for the opening of the road although it is expected to be this afternoon.

A 'ribbon-cutting' event attended by VIPs is expected to take place at the Costain base at Halton at around 10am. A bigger opening event is scheduled for next year.

A Lancashire County Council report has predicted that the 4.8km road will reduce traffic on Caton Road and Morecambe Road each day by up to 3,000 vehicles.

Work began on the road in February 2014 although the idea for a link was first thought about in 1948, well before the M6 motorway was built.

A workforce of more than 3,000 people and around 25,000 cubic metres of concrete have been used to build the road which links the M6 at Junction 34 to the Heysham bypass at Lancaster and Morecambe College.

Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, has hailed the opening of the road.

"I am pleased that this Government has delivered the M6 Link road," said Mr Grayling.

"Transport infrastructure is vitally important in coastal communities and this road allows Morecambe and Heysham to compete economically on a level playing field with other areas.

The M6 Link Road not only opens up Morecambe for investment but by allowing haulage to move between the Port in Heysham and the M6, it will alleviate local traffic in the area."

David Morris said: "When I was first elected in 2010 I made it my personal mission to get the funding for this road approved. Previous political leadership in the area had been opposed to this route and therefore until I came along no-one was fighting our corner and the road would never had been built.

"I badgered the roads Minister every day for six months until finally he announced that the M6 Link would be built.

"For our area this road is much more than a by-pass but is the cutting open of a chrysalis to unveil a butterfly inside. The road opens up our area to investment and allows Morecambe and Heysham to shine without the reliance on anywhere else.

"The benefits of this road will be many and far reaching but it's main purpose will be to take haulage off the local roads and onto the link road to the motorway, this will free up traffic in the area. This road will also have a positive effect on house prices and bring new business into the area. When the money was secured there was a report this said for every £1 of Government funding £4.50 will go into the economy. I actually believe that this road will far surpass that.

"In my role it is easy to become complacent about the Government funding I have secured as it is just a number on piece of paper. But seeing the road and what £111 million of Central Government looks like and the knowledge that something you worked so hard to secure will change your area forever it feels like a huge personal achievement and it is really fantastic to be able to drive down it!"

On Saturday, more than 4,600 people walked down the road as part of a charity 'Welly Walk' organised by St John's Hospice in partnership with many other local charities and road builders Costain.