09 July 2012
Golf fans heading to this year's Open Championship at Lytham St Anne's in Lancashire are being advised by the Highways Agency to plan their journeys.
Up to 40,000 spectators a day are expected to head for the Royal Lytham and St Anne's Golf Club in Lancashire from next week with the tournament taking place between Sunday (15 July) and Sunday 22 July.
The M6 around Preston and the M55 towards Blackpool are expected to be particularly busy over the tournament with four practice days before the competition proper begins on Thursday 19 July. Drivers are expected to pick up the A5230 local road from the end of the M55 south of Blackpool to travel into Lytham.
On road patrols of Highways Agency Traffic Officers and colleagues at the North West Regional Control Centre, just off the M6 at Newton-le-Willows, will be on standby to monitor traffic, set electronic signs and respond to incidents to keep drivers heading to Lytham on the move.
About 250,000 spectators are expected to attend the course over the five main days with a last practice day on Wednesday 18 July followed by the tournament proper - with play taking place between 7am and 8pm on Thursday and Friday 19 and 20 July and shorter days between 8am and 6pm on Saturday and Sunday 21 and 22 July as the tournament reaches its climax.
The Highways Agency has been discussing traffic management plans with the tournament organisers and is advising drivers to make use of the dedicated park and ride arrangements in place for cars and coaches from the Wednesday to the Sunday.
Fans arriving in cars with pre-booked parking will be directed off the M55 at Junction 3 to colour-coded parking facilities. All other traffic, including coaches and cars for the park and ride sites will be directed off the M55 at the end of the motorway south of Blackpool where it meets the A5230, the key local route into Lytham.
Commuters and other motorway users are being advised that the M55 and its interchange with the Junction 32 of the M6 are likely to be busy for several hours over the Thursday and Friday mornings.
Extra patrols of Highways Agency Traffic Officers from the Samlesbury outstation at Junction 31 of the M6, will be allocated to the M55 route during key times during the tournament.
The Highways Agency provides live traffic information via its website www.highways.gov.uk/traffic, local and national radio travel bulletins, electronic road signs and mobile platforms, such as the iPhone. Local Twitter services are also available at @HAtraffic_nwest and @HAtraffic_pen9 for Transpennine routes.
Providing they can do so safely, road users can also call the Highways Agency Information Line (0300 123 5000) to keep up to date with road conditions.
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