HC Deb 18 October 1972 vol 843 cc244-5
8. Mr. Blaker

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether it is still his intention that work shall start on the M55 Preston northern bypass motorway early in 1973.

Mr. Graham Page

Certain advance works started last month. The main works should be started next summer, which is earlier than previously forecast.

Mr. Blaker

Is my right hon. Friend aware that his reply is a very welcome addition to the progress which has been made on this project over the last two years? Will he bear in mind that it is more than 10 years since the county surveyor of Lancashire declared that this was the most important road project in the area? The people of Lancashire will be hoping that my right hon. Friend can keep it up to schedule.

Mr. Page

Last November, in previous Questions, my hon. Friend pressed me to get this road started earlier. I am happy to say that we have managed to bring it forward six months from schedule.

Miss Holt

I support my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, South (Mr. Blaker) in what he says about how welcome is my right hon. Friend's statement. However, I would be grateful if my right hon. Friend would expedite the building of the motorway to an earlier date, if that is at all possible. Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Minister for Transport Industries is proposing to raise the speed limit on the Blackpool Road within the Preston area to 40 miles an hour? This is a highly residential area in which a number of people have been killed. It is a most dangerous road with a tremendous amount of traffic and it is vital that the motorway should be started at the earliest possible moment.

Mr. Page

Yes, Sir. As I drive on that road frequently, I know its dangers.

We have sought in every way to advance the contract. We are erecting a bridge over the main London to Glasgow railway line and the statutory undertakers are diverting all the service pipes and wires that they can before the main contract.