RAWTENSTALL’S roads could be in line for a £10million-plus upgrade.

On Thursday, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet will be asked to approve the submission of an expression of interest’ to the Department for Transport’s new Local Pinch Point Fund.

It would ask for £9.25million to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of St Mary’s Way including the gyratory system ­— a signal controlled junction system ­— which officers identify as a blackspot for traffic congestion.

The proposal has been welcomed by Cllr Andy MacNae, one of Rawtenstall’s representatives on Rossendale Borough Council.

The report to senior councillors also requests approval of a local contribution of between £1.5m and £2m towards the scheme, should the submission be successful.

The government fund has £150million available for local highways authorities to bid for spending between 2021 and 2023. They have until the end of the month to submit initial bids.

The report to cabinet says: “An exercise has been undertaken to identify locations that meet the criteria of the fund and, as a result of this exercise, St Mary’s Way including the gyratory in Rawtenstall town centre has been identified as the priority submission.

“The current configuration of the gyratory together with high traffic flows limits its effectiveness and limits connectivity across Rossendale borough and with neighbouring areas. It also results in unreliable journey times for buses.

“Investment in the gyratory will be aimed at alleviating current congestion, improving journey times and improving road safety.

“The improvements will also be aimed at reducing harmful emissions.”

Hareholme ward’s Cllr MacNae said: “We have been pushing for investment in roads in the town for a long time.

“The gyratory roundabout in the middle of Rawtenstall is very difficult for pedestrians and cyclists and suffers severe traffic congestion at peak times.

“With all the housing planned for the town, things are only going to get worse. I welcome this bid and will support it. The only question is whether it is ambitious and big enough.”