Angry Chorley commuters will be faced with longer journeys and bigger queues after a popular ‘short-cut’ was shut to the public.
An access road leading from the Charnock Richard motorway services and the M6 is now closed, after residents living near the route complained of increasing traffic problems.
The closure has been on the cards for months, and the Highways Agency confirmed the barriers, which stop motorists using the road as an unofficial short-cut, were put in place on Tuesday.
Now, only emergency services and staff at Welcome Break, the operator of the motorway service area, will be able to use the road.
A Highways Agency spokesman said: “Welcome Break, in compliance with the requirements of their lease, has closed the barrier to prevent unauthorised access to and from the motorway.
“Rear access roads at service areas are not designed to cater for large volumes of traffic. They are designed for use by service traffic only.
“The Highways Agency has received a number of complaints about the impact of the passing traffic along the Charnock Richard rear access road.
“Under the new arrangements, only service traffic, service area staff and the emergency services will be able to access the service area via this road.”
But drivers are worried about higher fuel costs and longer journeys as a result of the closure.
Charnock Richard parish councillor, George Brennand, said: “Me and my family use that access almost every day, and I would much rather it stayed open for the public.
“It’s never been a problem before, and I think the motorway services like it open to commuters because it brings them trade.
“I’ll have to get on the motorway at Leyland or Shevington now, which is an extra 15 minutes every time, and that will really bump up fuel costs.
“There will also be lots of queues to get on and off the motorway at those junctions, with the increase in traffic.
“I’m not shocked that they’ve finally put the barrier back,” he added. “They’ve tried to put it there in the past, but there was a problem with vandalism.
“It boils down to the fact that residents complained about the nuisance caused by drivers using the road, and as a parish councillor, I need to support what the residents want.
“Hopefully this will put an end to their concerns.”
Nobody from Welcome Break was available for comment.