Heysham - M6 Link Road: Factsheet

The Heysham M6 Link Road (“Northern Bypass”) is a 5.1km (3.2 miles) dual carriageway.

It will pass from McDonald’s roundabout on Morecambe Road (A589), through
the grounds of Lancaster & Morecambe College, then through green
belt between Torrisholme and Beaumont to the remodeled Junction 34 of
the M6 north of the Lune.

Features

McDonald’s roundabout: would become a junction with traffic lightsBroadoak Corner: the road would be on an embankment 26ft (7.8m) high (approximate roof height of houses on Russell Drive)Railway line: new road about 49ft (15m) above existing land (height of a house plus a bungalow)Lancaster Canal: road 21ft (6.5m) above waterA6: Large roundabout in fields, A6 diverted & raised with flyover to carry it over Link roadHalton Second bridge over Lune, new roundabout at Shefferlands with slip road into HaltonLights:  would rise 33ft (10m) above road, lit all night

Cost

The County Council has estimated that it would cost £85m at 2004 prices
(£66m for the Northern Bypass, + £19m for the remodeling of M6 J34).
Inflation and possible costs associated with Private Financing (PFI)
will increase this further. The earliest that the bypass could open is
2010.

How will it affect communities?

HOUSES - 1074 dwellings are within 200 metres of the new road, with 187 being
within 50m, 229 between 50 & 100 metres, 303 between 100 & 150
metres and 355 between 100 & 150 metres from the road. They will
suffer increased noise, vibrations, air pollution, light pollution etc.1-3 houses would need to be acquired for demolition.It will divide communities in Torrisholme
How will it affect the environment?

FARMLAND - the footprint of the road covers 70 Ha (173 acres) of farmland.BIOLOGICAL HERITAGE SITES - encroaches on River Lune BHS twice and Lancaster canal BHS once, and passes close to Long Bank Wood BHS and Foundry Lane Verges BHS.

WIDER LANDSCAPE - major impact. Possible effects on species with wide ranges such as
birds, bats, otters - road kill, habitat severance, disturbance. There
are 7 protected bird species recorded across the route, and 5 protected
bat species use the route area as feeding grounds.HEDGEROWS
- major impact. Destruction of 94 hedgerows totaling 11 km in length.
87% of these are supposed to be protected by hedgerow regulations.
Hedgerows are key habitats, provide food, hibernation & breeding
sites and navigation routes for small birds and mammals, and support a
wide variety of invertebrates.

VETERAN TREES - major impact, can’t be mitigated. A valuable resource throughout the
northern route, though total number affected (by felling, changes to
drainage and root damage) not known yet.

MARSHY GRASSLAND - moderate impact. Areas supporting nationally and regionally important fungi will be destroyed.

VISUAL IMPACT - major impact. Because of the height and the lighting, it will be seen from a wide area.

How would the new road affect traffic flows?

In its opening year, the Link road would shave only 2-10 minutes off car
and lorry journey times between Morecambe and Lancaster or the M6. It
would at best lead to a reduction of only 20% in peak time congestion
(Andrew Dobson, Head of Planning & Building Control for Lancaster
City Council (LRCC) 17 Feb 2005) Traffic
would increase on some roads (e.g. the A589 Morecambe Road), and
decrease on other roads (e.g. Skerton Bridge). Overall, this does not
reduce traffic, just moves some of it into the green belt. The
new road will quickly fill up. General growth in traffic would cause
most local roads to return to their pre-bypass levels in less than 10
years. (UK road traffic levels grew by 1.7% in 2004: see DfT Transport
Statistics, Feb 2005.) But new roads generate additional traffic, so
it will be fewer years before the new road fills up. £85 million spent
and back to square one. More congestion and more pollution in the long
run.
Removal of the Luneside Link from the scheme dramatically changes the traffic
flow predictions. The city centre gyratory system and road bridges
across the Lune will remain congested even with the link road open.There
will be pressure to develop the land along the bypass route (housing
estates, garages, superstores, warehouses, etc). This will generate even
more traffic - e.g. the average edge-of-town ‘executive home’ generates
more than 8 car trips per day.

What should happen instead?

Around 80% of traffic in Lancaster & Morecambe is locally generated (i.e. not through-traffic). We
should examine initiatives in other towns to reduce congestion by
revitalizing bus and train services, shuttle buses, park & ride, car
sharing, cycle ways
We should concentrate on encouraging as many of those short journeys as
possible to switch from cars to bus, train, bike or foot.We should examine ways of children getting to school safely and not in cars (safe routes to schools).
We should also manage freight better to reduce the impact of lorries on
residential areas (e.g. more freight by rail, transfer goods from HGVs
to smaller local delivery vehicles.)Transport
Solutions for Lancaster & Morecambe (TSLM) will examine recent best
practice in other towns and propose alternative solutions to our
congestion problems.