THE final green light has been given for a major road-widening scheme to cut traffic jams, create nearly 4,000 jobs and resurrect plans for a hi-tech medical park.

The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s board this week approved its £9million contribution to the £11.5m upgrade of Haslingden Road in Blackburn.

It will widen the main traffic artery between the town centre and M65 Junction 5 and the Grane Road to two lanes each way, improving the roundabouts serving Royal Blackburn Hospital and Shadsworth Road and build a new highway linking Blackamoor Road with Roman Road.

The project should open up land to create 3,950 jobs, allow the building of 1,000 new homes and create 73,290 square metres of industrial space, much of it on empty land in the Blackamoor area.

It also revives plans to develop 9.3 acres of land between Shadsworth Road and Haslingden Road next to the hospital as a hi-tech medical and science park.

Blackburn with Darwen Council and its main contractor The Casey Group now have to complete the road improvements by April next year before the government-backed ‘Growth Deal’ funding approved by the LEP runs out.

The council and the East Lancashire Hospitals Trust are now working on plans for the revived medi-park with a view to completing it by 2025.

The original £25m Medi-Knowledge Park scheme was abandoned in April 2014.

The new plan, on its original site next to the Royal Blackburn, could create up to 1,542 jobs by attracting ‘high quality’ medical and science businesses and possibly creating a 30,000 square foot innovation centre,

The road widening scheme is set to start in April.

Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s regeneration boss, said “We are extremely pleased at this approval.

“It is the final step in bringing forward this project.

“Completing it by April 2021 is challenging but we and the contractor are committed to meeting that timetable.”

Blackburn with Darwen Council will contribute £2.5m to the project which will close the junction between Blackamoor Road and Roman Road.

A spokesperson for the LEP said: “We can confirm that the LEP has agreed to provide £9.05million for the South-East Blackburn scheme.

“The funding is subject to contracting between the LEP and the council.”