Lancaster Business Improvement District (BID) Manager Rachael Wilkinson takes a look back at The Bay Gateway, one year on from its opening in October last year.

ON January 6, 2014, work started to create the biggest new road to be built in Lancashire for decades.

Formerly known as the Heysham to M6 Link Road, The Bay Gateway is a 4.8km dual carriageway connecting the Heysham and Morecambe peninsula to Junction 34 of the M6 motorway.

Running alongside the road is a footpath and cycleway, which span the entire length of The Bay Gateway.

The Bay Gateway found its name following a public competition to come up with a name for the new road, which was won by a suggestion from popular radio station The Bay, located on St. George’s Quay in Lancaster.

The name ‘The Bay Gateway’ won the public voting with 49 per cent of the votes.

The Bay Gateway was one of Lancashire’s most anticipated transport projects and involved a full remodel of junction 34, as well as new slip roads, a new bridge over the River Lune and a park and ride site with more than 650 spaces.

The project, which cost £140 million and was funded by Lancashire County Council and the Department for Transport, opened to traffic for the first time on Monday, October 31, 2016, more than two and a half years since work first began.

With the new road came economic benefits to the area, right from the start of construction. More than 100 local long-term unemployed people were trained and employed, alongside hundreds of Costain workers and contractors.

The introduction of the new road meant a lot of different things for a lot of different people. This project was always more than just building a road - there was a reaching impact across the district, improving journey times and transforming opportunities for businesses and people seeking employment.

The Bay Gateway has, without a doubt, improved journey times into Lancaster city centre.

The upgraded junction 34 complements junction 33, to provide two key access routes off the M6 motorway into Lancaster.

The improved access will have undoubtedly improved access for tourists wanting to visit Lancaster, one of only 13 heritage cities in the United Kingdom.

The park and ride scheme also provides a great opportunity for higher levels of visitors to access the city centre, which provides economic benefit to businesses operating in Lancaster.

The new road has also reduced congestion for local residents in Lancaster. The main benefit felt by the local community is the relief on the one-way gyratory system which is in operation in Lancaster.

This allows residents greater access into the city centre and has eased pressure for commuters.

The installation of The Bay Gateway has also made travel between surrounding towns and areas, including Morecambe and the Lune Valley, much easier. This has allowed key organisations, such as Lancaster and Morecambe BIDs, to work closely together to promote the area as a whole, which works with Lancaster City Council's promotional district strapline of ‘City, Coast & Countryside’.

The Bay Gateway offers a real opportunity for new businesses to set up, grow and thrive in the area, alongside new opportunities for existing ones.