M65 environmental work in final phase

Important work to help protect wildlife living alongside the M65 in Lancashire entered its final phase this week.

Highways England is spending £400,000 to help stop carriageway pollution and debris reaching the River Calder which is adjacent to the motorway near Accrington.

A recent study has revealed that M65 surface water drains into Shorten Brook, which in turn goes into the River Calder.

The study also revealed that levels of zinc and copper in this water could be reduced by introducing equipment which separates debris and pollutants from motorway ‘run-off’, improving the water quality and the environment for the surrounding wildlife.

Highways England project manager Phil Tyrrell said:

“Highways England is determined to reduce the impact of our motorways on the environment and this work is designed to remove pollutants in rainwater coming off the carriageway before reaching the river from our drainage system.”

To finish the work, which started in January, Highways England has now closed the M65 eastbound exit slip road at junction 8 until the project is completed at the end of March.

There has been a temporary lane closure on the slip road since January but at peak times this has caused queues to form on the main carriageway.

Mr Tyrrell said:

““Safety is at the heart of everything we do to keep road users and our workforce safe. Due to the queues building on the main carriageway at peak times, we’ve decided it is safer to close the whole slip road around the clock until the work is finished.

“The work involves 10 metre deep excavations adjacent to the slip road and it is not safe to do this work overnight. Good alternative motorway diversions are in place but we would like to thank motorway users in advance for their patience as we work to complete this project.”

Drivers wanting to access the southbound A56 should use the signed diversion via junction 10 of the motorway.

The money for the project has been provided in the Government’s £15 billion investment in the strategic road network which includes a £300 million special fund for environmental improvements – including this project and the construction of a new noise barrier between junctions 7 and 8 nearby.