A DATE has been set for the public inquiry into the Thornton to Switch Island link road.
The hearing, at Bootle Town Hall, is scheduled for Tuesday, February 5, 2013, and is expected to last one or two days.
An Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Transport will hear objections to the legal orders which have been made to progress the proposed £19m by-pass.
There are two objections to the Compulsory Purchase Order which is needed to formally acquire the land and associated rights for the new road.
As one of these is classed as a 'statutory objection,' a public inquiry has been called by the Department for Transport.
Once all the representations have been heard, the Inspector will produce a report for the Secretary of State and a decision notice will be published at a later date.
The new link road is intended to relieve congestion and reduce traffic through the communities of Netherton and Thornton. No homes need to be demolished to build the by-pass and the council already owns much of the land along the proposed route.
Cllr John Fairclough, Sefton Council's Cabinet Member for Transportation, said: "The public inquiry is something we always knew might happen and was always timed into the link road project plan.
"Although a new road of some form has been on the agenda for many years, this phase of the legal process could only start once an agreed, and fully-funded, road scheme was in place. This formal legal process has now led to the inquiry.
"Our legal team has been making the necessary preparations and the council remains fully committed to this much-needed transport scheme."
Once underway, construction of the road is expected to last approximately 12 months.