Highways workmen are to begin lighting repairs on the M65, but it does not signal a U-turn for campaigners.
The work is on a set of lights at junction 8, the exit for Haslingden/Bury/Manchester and for Padiham/Clitheroe, which have been out of action for some time.
Lights along the motorway were switched off in March 2011 as part of a national Highways Agency contribution to cut carbon emissions, but junctions were always supposed to stay lit.
The “full switch off zone” decision led protests by drivers arguing that the road users are in danger because it is so dark. Three people have since died in accidents on the stretch between Junctions 7 to 10. MPs from the four constituencies bounding the motorway have pressed for the lights to re-instated, as has East Lancashire Coroner Michael Singleton.
The Highways Agency, which is responsible for motorway upkeep, says the lighting work on the slip road at Junction 8 is routine maintenance. It should be completed by the end of next week.
The section of the motorway between junctions 7 and 10 opened in 1983, six years after the initial opening from Junction 1 to 6, in 1997.
The Agency now intends to spend £325,000 to renew or refresh white line markings on carriageways and junctions, and cat’s eyes light studs on the road surface. The work should be completed by the end of March.
Workmen will put thermoplastic embossed road markings both on the carriageway and slip roads. It a relatively new treatment designed to boost night-time visibility in wet weather.
Highways Agency project manager John Lyssejko said: “This is routine repair, maintenance and improvement work and we will be doing all we can to ensure it is delivered with as little inconvenience to motorway users as possible.”
The team intends to do as much work as possible overnight and when roads are less busy, but is still advising drivers to check their route for road works, allow extra time for journeys, keep within the speed limit, get into the correct lane in good time and concentrate on the road ahead, not the roadworks.