|Plans for new junction move up a gear
In its drive to improve the roads across our borough, Wigan Council is looking at ways to tackle congestion at one of its busiest junctions as part of a wider regeneration project.
In recent years, the Saddle junction approach to Wigan town centre has become a victim of its own success by becoming one of the busiest roads in the borough. At peak times, the number of vehicles passing through the junction can often create a ‘bottle neck’, adding to the frustrations of motorists and deterring potential investment into the area.
And while the plans are still at their earliest stages, the council is now considering what can be done to improve Saddle and get Wigan moving again.
Under the multi-million pound proposals currently being considered and subject to public consultation, a new link will run from Pottery Road, along the side of the River Douglas, under Adam Viaduct and link into the Saddle Junction. The Wallgate route into Wigan, under the existing bridge, will be altered and improved to give two traffic lanes towards the town centre.
In addition, to cope with the large amount of traffic that will be released by the new link, plus the future traffic generated by new developments in the area, highway amendments are proposed running from Victoria Street in Newtown to Library Street in the town centre.
“Wigan Council is actively considering ways in which to maximise the area’s potential, whilst responding to the needs of local people in the immediate vicinity of the junction. Improving access to and from the town centre for both residents and visitors to the borough is a priority for us and this scheme would form part of the larger Wigan South Central regeneration project,” says Stephen Normington of Wigan Council’s Environmental Services Department.
He adds: “The proposal still requires planning permission, and an application is due to be submitted by mid-September, subject to the results of public consultation. Whilst some funding is in place, the project still needs to secure match funding through our partners, including the North West Development Agency and we hope to receive final confirmation on this in the New Year. In the meantime, we are talking to residents and businesses that are likely to be affected should these improvements go ahead.”
The public consultation will run into the first week of September, after which the council will amend the plans if necessary, before applying for planning permission in the autumn.
Subject to the outcome of the planning application the first works in the area could begin in February 2010, with the new link opening in November 2012 and the works finally finishing in the summer of 2013.
Wigan South Central has been given priority ‘Strategic Regional Site’ status, and is one of a select number of proposals under consideration by the North West Development Agency.