THE next stages to tackle traffic congestion in Colne have been outlined by Lancashire County Council chiefs after public concern over their plans to bypass the town and Foulridge with a £38million link road.

The authority’s transport boss John Fillis promised action to cut jams on the Vivary Way/North Valley Road corridor would be taken and assessed before any final decision on the controversial new highway.

He spoke following a visit to the affected area after he last week added an alternative of no bypass to the six routes originally proposed.

The move came after a public consultation on the draft East Lancashire Transport Masterplan failed to give clear backing to any of the options.

It showed widespread opposition to its preferred ‘Brown route’.

The new consideration has been welcomed by Earby Tory councillor Chris Tennant, who said it should look at extending any bypass beyond his village to avoid ‘just moving the problem’.

Coun Fillis revealed a new three-stage strategy for the Vivary Way/North Valley Road corridor in Colne.

It includes: l Delivering a works programme including junction improvements, modernising pedestrian facilities and making sure street furniture and signs are effective; l Closely examining the effects new development will have on traffic volumes and movements along North Valley Road; l Updating the county council’s information on volumes and destinations of traffic using North Valley Road, through traffic counts and road side interviews.

Coun Fillis said: “The consultation told us that people want us to carry out more detailed appraisals of the options for a bypass.

"We need to improve the transport network around Colne and our view is that a bypass is likely to be the best long-term solution.

“In the short-term, however, there is serious congestion in the area and we will carry out a range of work during this financial year to try to improve that congestion now.

“At the same time we will gather information to help us confirm whether a bypass is the best option and, if so, to build a business case for investment.”

Coun Tennant said: “This careful consideration is the best way forward.”