County Councillor Jenny Mein put a spade in the earth where the road will run from a re-modelled Junction 34 near to the Halton Training Camp, part of which is currently serving as a depot for staff and equipment.
She said: "We're very proud of Lancashire County Council's long history of road building – we were home to the first ever section of motorway when the Preston bypass opened in 1958.
|Dreary: Trees and greenbelt already destroyed in preparatory work for the road near Halton Army Camp before the ground breaking. Photo: Terran Brown|
Once again the County Council leader repeated the organisations's justification for the costly and controversial road, saying "It will reduce congestion and create local jobs by improving travel to Heysham and Morecambe, and the port, power stations and nearby employment areas.
"I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have supported this scheme over the years, including local county councillors and MPs, the Chamber of Commerce, the Highways Agency, Department for Transport, local businesses including Peel Ports, Seatruck and local haulage companies, local residents and members and officers of Lancaster City Council.
"Our own staff from teams across the county council have also worked long and hard, overcoming many disappointments and setbacks, to get us to this point.
"We're very grateful for the invaluable help and support of all those who have succeeded in making the link road a reality."
Councillor Eileen Blamire, leader of Lancaster City Council, said: "The city council’s Core Strategy, which was approved in 2008, supports the M6 link and the significant benefits it will bring to our district.
"As well as improving the district’s attractiveness to investors and creating new opportunities for growth, the improved accessibility it brings will also aid regeneration in some of the district’s more deprived areas."
Andrew Langley, project manager Costain, said: "It’s great the scheme has now started, we must now ensure we deliver this challenging scheme safely and to the highest quality.
"The scheme’s mission statement is to deliver the Heysham to M6 Link Road leaving a lasting legacy. We’re engaging with key stakeholders and local businesses to achieve this objective."
Costain has a target to train and employ 100 local unemployed people, with 30 people already having gained jobs.
The £124m scheme is scheduled to open in summer 2016.
Let's hope the "lasting legacy" is as good as the County claims. We remain, as ever, sceptical.