All Systems Go for £19m Thornton to Switch Island Link Road!

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All Systems Go for the £19m Thornton to Switch Island Link Road!

Sefton Council says it is ‘all systems go’ for the £19m Thornton to Switch Island Link Road after the Government re-confirmed its funding contribution this week.

The announcement means the long-awaited bypass has cleared its final hurdle and building work can start in the coming weeks.

Cllr Peter Dowd, Leader of Sefton Council, said: “This is a momentous occasion for Sefton and marks the end of decades of uncertainty around a possible link road or bypass in this area.

“Unlike many similar major highway projects, there has been very little opposition to this scheme and consequently I’m sure this final ‘go ahead’ will be welcomed by thousands of people.

“The road will massively reduce journey times between the motorway network and north Sefton while taking thousands of vehicles out of the congested communities of Thornton and Netherton.

“Combined with new housing and employment opportunities in years to come, the road will encourage investment and improve the economic viability of the borough for future generations. It really is great news for Sefton and north Merseyside.”

Cllr John Fairclough, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Transportation, said: “To deliver a complicated project of this kind and get to this landmark point has taken years of hard work by staff across the council. “Thankfully, we are as prepared as we possibly could be ahead of this funding confirmation, so we already have our contractor in place, the road is fully designed and the construction boundaries are marked out.

“This means it is now all systems go and we have requested that our contractors Balfour Beatty press ahead with the full construction phase as quickly as possible.

“In the coming weeks the contractor will be setting up the main site compound, ordering materials and mobilising the many specialist sub contractors needed for an engineering scheme of this size.

“There will also be some essential diversions of utility services before the main earth works start early next year.”

Link Road Background

For many years Sefton Council has been pushing the case for a new bypass to tackle a series of local transport issues. Plans for the ‘blue route’ dual carriageway were rejected in 1996 after a public inquiry.

In 2003, a single-carriageway link between Switch Island and the A565 Southport Road was chosen as the council’s new ‘preferred option.’ It was not clear at this stage if the proposal would gain support from the Government.

The Department for Transport re-opened the potential for Whitehall funding in July 2006 by ‘broadly accepting’ regional proposals for major transport schemes, including the proposed link road.

This led to a public consultation revealing widespread backing for the single carriageway route.

The exercise also uncovered some local concerns about the effect on properties in the Holgate area of Thornton and around Chapel Lane, Netherton

Following meetings with councillors, residents, and Sefton’s transport officers, a revised option was established following a more northerly alignment in these two areas.

This slightly amended route was backed by Sefton’s Cabinet Committee during a meeting in March 2007.

Following a two-day Public Inquiry in February 2013 the Department for Transport (DfT) approved the necessary legal powers to acquire the land and any associated legal rights in May 2013.

No homes need to be demolished to build the bypass and the council already owned much of the land along the proposed route

The road is being funded by the Department for Transport (£14.5m) and Sefton Council.

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