A MULTI-million pound proposal to improve Rawtenstall’s roads could ‘transform’ traffic flows in the town and surrounding Rossendale.

Borough leader Alyson Barnes has welcomed the decision by Lancashire County Council’s Cabinet to bid for £9.25million of government cash to upgrade the gyratory system in the centre of its main town.

She said: “This is excellent news. I am absolutely delighted this bid has been approved.

“It could be transformational for Rawtenstall and the borough as whole.

“This roundabout or gyratory system can be difficult to navigate and cause major traffic congestion.

“Improving it could have a major effect on traffic flows across the borough of Rossendale.”

The county council will now submit an ‘expression of interest’ to the Department for Transport’s new Local Pinch Point Fund.

It seeks £9.25million to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of St Mary’s Way including the gyratory system ­— a signal controlled roundabout and junctions ­— which officers identified as a traffic congestion blackspot.

The senior councillors also approved 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.

Cllr Keith Iddon, the county’s highways boss, said: “We are looking to bid for funding to improve this key junction in Rawtenstall. If successful, the aim is to improve how the junction works to benefit people’s journeys, including public transport.

“We’ll have more details about the plans if the bid is successful. This could involve changes to the traffic signals and the layout, but depends on the funding we can bring in.

“There’ll be opportunities in the future for people to give their views on any plans.”

Cllr Barnes said: “I and Rossendale Borough Council have lobbied long and hard for this submission.

“The infrastructure is inadequate to deal with the extra housing required by the government in its new local plan and the resulting extra cars. This will ease both traffic in the centre of Rawtenstall and traffic entering the the valley.

“Rossendale Council will strongly support this bid and work with the county council.”