FEARS have been raised a £2.6 million road scheme could cause lengthy delays with traffic queuing during rush hour causing gridlock.

But bosses stress the Brownhill roundabout project will be done mainly during off-peak hours to limit the impact on motorists.

Work began on the multi-million scheme to improve the key route into Blackburn and is set to run until July.

One resident, who asked not to be named, said: “Work has started on the Brownhill intersection and the signs say it will be for several weeks. The gridlock, especially at busy times, is already a nightmare.”

Town hall chiefs are hopeful the major transport improvements will act as the catalyst for new housing and commercial development.

Intelligent traffic signals will be installed at Brownhill roundabout, where the road will also be resurfaced.

The roundabout forms a key intersection between the Ribble Valley, Blackburn town centre and the town’s major employment zones at Whitebirk, connecting to the M6, M66 and M65.

Bosses say designated housing sites are close to the junction, hence the need to upgrade it as well as adjacent junctions. Work will also include changes to parking on Whalley New Road.

Improvements will be made to the Pleckgate Road and Ramsgreave Drive junction, including new traffic signal equipment.

The Whalley Old Road and Whitebirk Drive junction will be able to take more traffic and there will be increases to the northbound “stacking” lane on Whitebirk Drive as well as new traffic signal equipment.

Work at these sites will also include transport improvements for walking and cycling, highways signage, street lighting, drainage, surfacing, lining and soft and hard landscaping.

A Blackburn with Darwen Council spokesman said: “We will be carrying out improvement works on Brownhill and Pleckgate junctions. The works will comprise minor kerbing works, replacement of the traffic signal infrastructure, improvements to pedestrian and cycle crossings and resurfacing of carriageways and footpaths.

“Due to the complexity of the scheme and the closeness of the traffic signals, the works will be done under different phases and works will be restricted to off-peak hours where possible.”