COUNTY council chiefs have given the nod to a £450,000 funding package for specialist help to make a £55m transport revolution for East Lancs become a reality.

Early last year Lancashire County Council (LCC) was awarded £49.6m by the government for the Levelling Up East Lancashire programme, which pledged significant uplifts for rail stations, bus stops and cycling routes.

And just under £5m of that has been spent on preparatory work during 2023-24, county councillors have been told. County officials had earmarked £5m of their own funds to bring the total investment up to £55m.

Now the county councillor’s Andy Mullaney, director of environment and planning, has authorised three new deals to release the remainder of the cash injection.

In a report, he said: “In January 2023 Lancashire County Council was awarded £49.6m from the DfT (Department for Transport) for the Levelling Up East Lancashire programme.

“As part of the award LCC will receive £4.96m in 2023/24. To release the remaining £44.6m, the DfT have stipulated that LCC must complete a full business case in 2024/25.”

Technical support for one operator alone - Jacobs - tops £450,000 - for work on a range Levelling Up Fund business case advice, surveys and designs.

And two other contracts, for Atkins Realis and PlanIt Commission, have also been signed off to add their expertise.

Nearly £5m worth of accessibility improvements have reportedly been pencilled in for Accrington station, including a new footbridge with lifts. And further work is understood to be in the pipeline to upgrade Burnley Manchester Road station, also on the East Lancashire Line.

And other improvements for Hyndburn, Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale should see the installation of priority bus stops, featuring up-to-the-minute information displays and audio announcements – similar to those found at railway stations.

Meanwhile traffic light-controlled junctions on key bus routes could be fitted with ‘intelligent priority’ technology to help speed up journeys.

And new cycling and walking corridors are set to see footpaths widened, the creation of shared and segregated cycle and pedestrian provision, surface upgrades and new controlled crossing points.

Similar improvements – along with secure cycle parking and new lighting, seating, planting – have been proposed within eight neighbourhood areas as part of the bid.

Mobility hubs were also planned at up to four locations to encourage shifts between public transport and active travel options within the same journey – via the likes of secure cycle storage.

Blackburn with Darwen was separately awarded £20m for work including a comprehensive overhaul for roads around the M65 junction five at Guide.