Blackpool Council have confirmed that the Promenade road at Talbot Square will be closed as soon as the illuminations end at the start of November as work to construct the tramway extension up Talbot Road to North Station continues. The news of the major road closure – which will encompass the Christmas shopping period and beyond – has been met with disappointment and anger in Blackpool but will be necessary for the tracks to be connected if the opening date of Easter 2019 is to be met.
In addition to the closure of the Prom road there will be closures in Talbot Square itself – where a new tram stop is due to be built – and continued closures on Talbot Road. The Council have said that some parts of Talbot Road will be reopened over Christmas whilst there is a break in construction work. As part of a package announced at the same time there will be heavily discounted parking in Blackpool Town Centre to keep the message out there that despite the obvious disruption the road closures and construction work will give Blackpool very much remains open for shoppers and visitors.
Blackpool Transport bus services will also be affected by the closure with the no. 1 bus only able to operate between Fleetwood Affinity Outlet (the former Freeport) and Blackpool Town Centre. It will return to the route through to Starr Gate once the Prom road reopens in 2019. But in the meantime the tramway will be available for anyone wishing to travel from Starr Gate to Fleetwood. No details have been given of any tramway closures but ahead of the planned Easter opening of the extension there is likely to be some sort of closure as there will be a need to connect the old and new tracks. It is hoped, though, that this will not be for any particularly long length of time.
The Council have confirmed that all construction works are on schedule and should be completed by February 2019 in time for testing ahead of the Easter opening date. When they say all works they are obviously omitting the demolition of Wilkinson’s and the building of new tramway terminus as Wilkinson’s new store isn’t due for construction until sometime in 2019 at the earliest.