The A6 at Carnforth Town CentreThe A6 in Carnforth

Ist April 1960 was a red letter day for Carnforth's traffic, with the opening of the new two lane Lancaster bypass of the M6 which started just north of Carnforth and providing a bypass for Carnforth taking all the north-south traffic out of the town, gone where the queue's for the towns traffic lights either down the levels or through the town.

Forty six year on the M6 has been extended north to Carlisle and widened to 3 lanes. Carnforth has been given another partial bypass in the form of the A601(M) but the queues have returned, now with 3 sets of traffic lights to contend with someday's worse than inn the 1950's.

 

 

The A6 arrives in Carnforth from Warton crossing a bridge that would hardly noticed over the River Keer just south of the Truck Haven roundabout that marks the boundary. It continues as a good wide and fast road for about half a mile before narrowing to go under a railway bridge then climbing into the town on what is called Scotland Road to the towns main traffic lights near to the main shopping centre. The A6 continues southward along Lancaster Road through the town passing a set of Pedestrian Traffic Lights then a new set at the new Tesco Store before continuing through the outskirts of the town near to the Lancaster Canal to cross the boundary to Bolton le Sands where the speed limit changes from 30 to 40.

 

Busy day on the A6 at CarnforthCarnforth's Traffic Problems

Why when Carnforth has been bypassed twice does the town still suffer from traffic problems? A lot is to do with the towns geography, firstly is nothing to do with Carnforth it is to do with the town of Morecambe about 6 miles to the south west of Carnforth. The town with a population of about 45,000 is on a peninsular made by the Lune Estuary (see map below). Traffic wishing to get in and out of the town to the M6 has to negotiate either Lancaster or Carnforth, as a result all the northern traffic to and from Morecambe comes through Carnforth. Add to this the traffic generated by Carnforth itself and several sizable villages nearby this adds up to a lot of traffic. The other factor is that Carnforth town centre is hemmed in by the Lancaster Canal on the eastern side and the Main Railway line on the west each with just one practical bridge meaning that nearly all Carnforth's traffic must use the towns main traffic lights.

 

Carnforths reletionship to Morecambe

Carnforth provides the main northern outlet to the M6 for the town of Morecambe

Map showing Carnforths Traffic Problems with the location of the Canal and Railway

The main roads in Carnforth are hemmed in by the Canal & Railway

An imaginary ring road round CarnforthThe only way to improve Carnforth's traffic problems is to take out the traffic from Morecambe that goes through the town. The idea would be a ring road round the southern side of Carnforth to Junction 35 of the M6 as shown left. by taking this from junction 35 at the B6254 end of the A601(M) to the end of Sand Lane in Warton this would as well as taking all the Morecambe traffic out of Carnforth would also take traffic from Warton & several other villages out of the town and thus solve Carnforth's traffic problems. unfortunately this would near a major building work on the shore including a bridge over the river Keer, bridges over the A6 & Canal, as well as the M6 so is unlikely to happen.

However there is a proposal for a new road from Morecambe to junction 34 of the M6 details of this can be found here . This road is subject of much debate and opposition. We are remaining neutral over this debate, what follows is just suggestions on how to solve Carnforth's traffic problems.

What is needed is to take the Morecambe Traffic out of Carnforth and take then to the M6. At its simplest it would involve a new link from the A6/A5105 to the M6. Without major reconstruction of the A6 and/or Lancaster Canal so any road would realistically have to be built between the southern end of Bolton le Sands and the northern end of Lancaster. If traffic out of Morecambe continues to use the A5105 which has little problems, the nearest place to put a new road would be between Bolton le Sands and Slyne. The shortest route being a direct route to the M6 as shown in 'A' below. However this would mean a junction too near to junction 34. An alternative shown in 'B' would be to link the A6 with an existing road than runs from Lancaster to Nether Kellet, but this involves 2 right turns and increased traffic through the village of Nether Kellet. The best solution shown in C'' is upgrading the present lane between the new road and Nether Kellet followed by a new road between Nether Kellet and Junction 35 of the M6.

 
'A' A short new road connecting the A6 & M6 Near Slyne 'B' A short new road and upgrading of some lanes aroud Nether Kellet 'C' A new road near Slyne and Nether Kellet

If the final one was ever built a connection could be built between the A6 just north of Lancaster and the new road, this road could be then given the number A6 as could the A601(M) rejoining the original A6 at the A601(M) roundabout in Warton.