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Southgate – the story so far
Monday 3rd December, 2012

First reports show that Wigan’s newest road, Southgate, is operating successfully.

Wigan Council engineers have been monitoring the Saddle relief road’s traffic flow on CCTV and on site and they are giving the route a qualified thumbs up. Traffic is moving efficiently and the bus companies are being kept updated as works progress.

“It’s still early days and I want to thank all road users for their patience,” says Cllr David Molyneux. As Deputy Leader and cabinet lead for regeneration, he has been closely involved in the scheme. And as a member of the board of the Environment Agency, Cllr Molyneux is also directly involved in the next phase of works – the flood defences.

“To have the new road open and being used three months before the end of the scheme is great news,” he adds, “but we are all aware of the flooding concerns and recent incidents. Now we have moved outgoing traffic onto the new Southgate, we can begin work on two major new flood prevention projects.”

To deal with the flood risk which has affected the Eleanor Street area recently, the next phase of the relief road scheme will see a new £330k attenuation tank with a storage capacity of 900 square metres installed on the south side of Wallgate Bridge. Attenuation tanks are designed to control water delivered as part of an extreme rainfall event – water is collected from the ground or built structures and released back into the local watercourse or drainage system in a controlled way. There will also be a £40k flood alleviation scheme along the River Douglas which will remove Eleanor Street from the flood zone to being a street which benefits from flood defence.

The new road was opened early last Monday (26th) and the timetable over the next three months will see the full regeneration scheme completed. The old Pottery Road (near the Ambulance Station) is now two way and businesses there are open as usual. The Saddle Junction’s traffic signals – the hi-tech “SCOOT” system – is synched with the new road, and in the next few weeks, there will also be improved landscaping and new trees planted.

A major change before Christmas will be that the bus lane on Wallgate will be removed allowing two lanes all the way out of town for the first time.

“We are continuing to deliver on this scheme,” says Cllr Molyneux, “We are protecting residents and the new road with new defences and I am pleased with the results so far. We’re concentrating on outbound improvements for now but the scheme also addresses access into town. There’s more to do but we’ve reached a milestone as we get Wigan moving.”

The full scheme is scheduled for completion in March 2013.

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