MORE than £3m is to be spent on improvements to one of the key routes into Wirral which has become dilapidated in recent years.
The four-lane A41 stretches most of the way along Wirral past key employment, tourism and retail sites and is seen as one of the key gateways to the borough.
But in recent years traffic levels have increased and sites such as the International Business Park at Bromborough have grown.
Now, with the help of European Objective 1 cash, plus money from Wirral Council and Merseytravel, it is hoped to make the A41 more attractive to visitors to the borough, improve traffic flow at key bottlenecks, and beautify the environment for people living there.
Wirral Council cabinet member for transportation Cllr Jeff Green said the improvements were long overdue.
He said: "We will be able to start improving one of the most important gateways into Wirral for visitors and for commercial activity. Part of the works are included in the local transport plan for the area."
The improvements will be along the A41 from Junction five of the M53 up to the Shell Oil Terminal roundabout at the end of the Rock Ferry By-Pass.
They include removal of two footbridges, more laybys for residents' parking,, acoustic fencing to protect residents from traffic noise near the New Ferry by-pass and £100,000 on bulb and shrub planting on verges and roundabouts.
This route is seen by the council as a strategic road serving important areas for employment including the Wirral International Business Park and Levers, as well as tourism at Eastham Village, the Country Park and Port Sunlight. The Croft retail park, which includes a cinema, health centre and bingo as well as shops, is also accessed from the A41.
Also included in the plan are improvements to access to the Croft which has been high on the list of transport priorities.
Senior councillors approved plans by Wirral Waterfront, which oversees Objective 1 cash, to compliment the Local Transport Plan proposals for the road. Over the next three years investment of some £2.4m from the LTP will be added to the £1m from the Wirral Waterfront Programme up to March 2007.
Local councillor Steve Niblock said it was a long term project and would take several years to complete.
Cabinet member for regeneration Cllr Pat Hackett added: "This is an important part of the employment corridor stretching from Eastham to New Brighton.
"The project was delayed last year because of the North West Development Agency's funding position."