I’ve been frustrated by the devastating delays across the Shard Bridge for Hambleton and Knott-End residents, and others Over Wyre who are now facing incredible waits following the part-opening of the new A585 Windy Harbour junction.

I’ve been caught up in this myself many times over the past couple of years, and I really share people’s anger.

I’ve been seeking some immediate remedial action on the latest developments, as it’s clear the last 24 hours have been shockingly bad for residents, whether this is the light timings or filter lanes remaining closed.

National Highways have told me that they will now:

  • adjust the timings of the temporary traffic lights on the approach to Poulton Junction
  • open the filter lanes to increase capacity
  • adjust the electronic signage around the new bypass
  • commission permanent traffic lights in January at Poulton and Skippool Bridge junctions

Their full update to me is as follows (commitments in red):

We’d like to sincerely apologise for the disruption our customers have experienced since the beginning of our phased opening of the new A585 Windy Harbour-Skippool bypass.We’re doing everything in our power to improve the operation of the new bypass, but we recognise the concerns being raised by road users and the local community. Opening a major route can come with unexpected teething issues but we’re working round the clock to ease congestion and improve journeys for everyone.
We’re trying to quickly make all the necessary improvements and by adjusting the timings of the temporary traffic lights on the approach to Poulton Junction, in particular on the westbound carriageway, we hope to see improvements to traffic flows over the next 24 hours.We’ve also opened the filter lanes at this location to increase capacity. Teams remain on site to monitor the situation on the ground and make further adjustments to traffic management where necessary. Please bear with us as we try to rectify the situation as quickly as possible.We encourage everyone to use the new bypass, especially those travelling eastbound from Shard or Skippool towards Windy Harbour, as the route will be quicker than using Lodge Lane and create fewer delays. The successful functioning of the bypass can only be achieved if it is used and if drivers ensure they choose the correct route for their journey.We have already adjusted the electronic signage around the new bypass to encourage people to use this route and we would appreciate any support you can offer in communicating this message to your community and fellow road users. Please find attached a graphic that can be used on your social media channels. 

We’re using a phased opening of the bypass as it’s the least disruptive way of completing the remaining sections of the A585 while keeping local roads and communities moving. By opening the bypass this week we’re now able to safely build the necessary traffic islands at Skippool Bridge junction, which were previously located within a live carriageway on Mains Lane.We’ll commission permanent traffic lights in January at Poulton and Skippool Bridge junctions which will allow the bypass to become fully operational later this winter, making use of all four lanes at the national speed limit (70mph). For safety, the speed limit will be reduced to 50mph on the approach to Poulton junction and 40mph towards Skippool junction. For any constituent queries, please direct them to the project inbox: A585windyharbourtoskippool@nationalhighways.co.uk and our dedicated scheme webpage for the latest information: www.nationalhighways.co.uk/our-roads/north-west/a585-windy-harbour-to-skippool.

I will keep up to date on how National Highways are dealing with this poor traffic management, and be assured I have raised my alarm and concern with the Transport Secretary about how the roll-out of this scheme has been handled.

Residents deserve better.

Representing an area built on a peninsula, transport options in and out of Fleetwood are limited, and so along with my longstanding successful campaign over the years to get Fleetwood back on track by reinstating the rail link, I welcome initiatives to increase the long-term accessibility and infrastructure capacity to encourage financial growth and jobs into the town.

We accept that disruption and delays are an inevitable part of huge road upgrades, but naturally there comes a point where the 90 minute delays over Shard Bridge and 45 minutes on the stretch from the Norcross roundabout to Skippool (even in non-rush hour times) becomes intolerable.

People risk being put off making trips to the town, turning around, and businesses losing out – not to mention the daily misery of queues all the way through Hambleton and the impact on rural villages like Preesall and Knott End. We trust that there is a greater good at the end of the process, but the expected disruption must be manageable – and National Highways need to be open and up front about the impact in order to bring people’s understanding along with them.

I’ll keep standing up for residents to make sure the daily commute is manageable, but I know right now it seems more difficult than ever.

I really do hope that in the long term we can see better traffic flow here, but this project, along with the Norcross Roundabout upgrades, are over budget and under-delivering on the promised increased safety and traffic management in the area. We need more accountable local decision makers who know our area choosing how we design, build and upgrade our towns, not more power in Westminster or with agencies not based here.

This is why I’m proud of Labour’s plans for government to introduce a Take Back Control Bill which will grant regions new devolved powers over employment support, transport, energy, climate change, housing, culture, childcare provision and how councils run their finances – and will give communities a new right to request powers which go beyond even that.

I hope things can improve quickly, and you can see below some of my past work supporting residents on this, but please do continue to direct your concerns and experiences to A585windyharbourtoskippool@nationalhighways.co.uk.

Related links:

Windy Harbour Bypass £12m Over Budget

More Norcross Roundabout Accidents Than Before

Windy Harbour Bypass Deadline Passes By

Cat Tells Highways: Fix Norcross Roundabout!

Cat Raises (S)Light Delays on the A585

Success! 24 potholes Earmarked for Repair in Larkholme

Larkholme and Chatsworth Residents Deserve Better Roads!

Cat Demands LCC Action on Inglewood Close

Cat Visits the A585 Windy Harbour to Skippool Bypass Site

Success! Broadway Finally to be Resurfaced

We Need Safer Roads In Lancashire

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