The construction of a roundabout on the A590 at Swarthmoor by 2020 demonstrates how important the road is to attract new investment and support business growth across Furness, according to the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership.
Highways England has this week confirmed that it is contributing a share of £8m for the roundabout, replacing the current junction at Cross-a-Moor.
The four arm roundabout will provide a number of key local development sites with direct access to the A590.
The £5m scheme has been allocated more than £3m from the Growth and Housing Fund and more than £2m in third-party match funding.
That includes £1.7m of private funding and a further £300,000 from South Lakeland District Council.
The scheme will also pave the way for the development of sites with the potential to deliver almost 1,000 new homes in the future and should be completed by the end of 2020.
Graham Haywood, Director of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This is an important investment which will help enable and accelerate the delivery of 1,000 new homes. It's also another key milestone in the development and improvement of the A590 and is part of our overall transport infrastructure strategy for the area.
"Road improvements like this are crucial for safety and for keeping key routes between business and employment hubs fit for purpose. The A590 is of major importance to employers like BAE Systems and GSK Ulverston to ensure better strategic connectivity to the M6 corridor, attract new investment and support business growth.”
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “Transport investment is crucial to a strong and resilient economy – that’s why we are making the biggest investment in roads in a generation, spending £23 billion across the country to improve journeys for motorists.
“These upgrades from Highways England will benefit the regions, giving a boost to businesses and better access to the jobs and homes that people want.”
Cllr Keith Little, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “I’m delighted with this announcement. In the past week the council has secured £4.67m of national investment in our highways infrastructure and that is fantastic news.
"We’ve worked closely with the LEP, South Lakeland District Council and Highways England on this bid and it’s encouraging to see that paying off. If the county is to meet the demands of a growing population we need our vital infrastructure to be able to cope, this new roundabout will make big difference as this new housing is developed.”
Cllr Graham Vincent, South Lakeland District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economy and Assets, said: “The council’s contribution to the junction improvements demonstrates our commitment to support growth in the local economy, deliver new employment opportunities and improve the lives of people living in this area.
“We have a key council commitment to help create 1,000 new affordable homes for rent in South Lakeland by 2025. The housing being planned for that area of Ulverston represents about 20% of all the new homes to be built in the entire district.
“The improvements at Cross-a-Moor will be a critical component, improving accessibility and helping SLDC to support and deliver its wider plans and ambitions.”