Major roadworks at a busy town centre junction are expected to last for another THREE months.
Upgrades at the junction of Hyndburn Road, Henry Street, Riding Barn Street and Dunkenhalgh Way in Church have been ongoing for several weeks but will not be completed until May.
Lancashire County Council (LCC) said the works are part of the wider Hyndburn Burnley Pendle Growth Corridor scheme, funded by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, to support economic growth along the M65 corridor by reducing the impact of congestion.
Criticisms have been made over the traffic delays caused by the scheme and how effective the improvements will be.
However, council bosses said it will help make the nearby Junction 7 Business Park at Clayton-le-Moors ‘more viable’ to developers and bring in up to 2,000 new jobs.
Hyndburn council leader Miles Parkinson said it will also help improve traffic capacity for the next 20 years.
Speaking at a recent cabinet meeting, he said: “These junctions need to be upgraded now.
“Of course there are issues now because there are ongoing traffic works which is causing that bottle neck. The vision there is not just for this year but for 20 years ahead for capacity.
“Previously [for] any major planning application that came forward for the [Junction 7] employment site, which can create up to 2,000 jobs, the Highways Agency would want that roundabout upgrading and traffic lighting.
“That would be on the onus for the business and made it not viable to develop the site.”
The works follow other improvements to the M65 junction 7 roundabout where new traffic lights were installed last year.
Conservative group leader Tony Dobson said he cannot see the benefits of the changes.
He told the cabinet meeting: “I get the argument if we were going to put a third lane on the M65. If we are just going to stick a set of traffic lights on a roundabout and say we are planning for 20 years time doesn’t make sense to me or the average person in the street.”
An LCC spokesperson said: “We’re sorry for any disruption as a result of the current work, however once completed traffic flow in this area will return to normal, with the full benefit of the improvements being realised as development takes place in the coming years.”