Roadworks on busy Blackpool tourist route 'vital' despite fear they could hammer tourism

Roadworks on a major tourist route this summer is 'necessary in order to improve safety for pedestrians', the area’s ward councillor has said.

Blackpool Council has revealed it will be carrying out work to upgrade the junction of Squires Gate Lane and Lytham Road, which also provides access to Blackpool Airport.

The scheme is due to start on Tuesday, May 28 and is expected to last for 12 weeks, with highways chiefs saying measures will be taken to minimise disruption.

Some locals had questioned the timing of the works - particularly as Squires Gate Lane feeds tourism traffic heading towards St Anne on Clifton Drive North, and to Blackpool Promenade.

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There are already temporary traffic lights at the junction of Clifton Drive North and Highbury Road in St Annes which are expected to remain in place until August while Lancashire County Council extends a cycle track. Commenting on the council’s Facebook page, one person has asked whether the work “could have been done in the winter time when traffic is low”.

But the council said the aim was to complete the upgrade to the pedestrian facilities prior to the 2024 Illuminations season.

Squires Gate ward councillor Gerard Walsh said the upgrade was in response to concerns about road safety but he believed traffic would continue to flow.

He said: “This particular junction has seen an increase in pedestrians and a number of local residents have raised concerns about road safety. With that in mind, I very much welcome the introduction of a pedestrian crossing as this will assist parents who walk their children to the local school and those who wish to walk to the retail park, including the more vulnerable members of the community.

“As with any major road works, there will always be some disruption and I believe there have been some questions raised about the timing of the scheme. However, the schedule of works will coincide with the summer school holidays, so we should actually see a reduction in both motorists and pedestrians using this junction as the work takes place.”

The proposals include the creation of pedestrian crossings at all four carriageways at the junction, with the upgrade being done by Eon which already provides street lighting and traffic signals for the council.

Roads will remain open throughout the works but will be operating on reduced lanes, with lane closures due to be removed outside of working hours when possible.

Nearby routes where there is also upgrade work going on at the moment include the junction of Clifton Drive North and Highbury Road in St Annes to build a cycle lane, and at Common Edge Road, Blackpool, in preparation for a new link road into the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone.