The feedback from motorists and residents has been extremely positive so far, as council engineers continue work on the A49 south of Wigan.
Southgate – the new Saddle Junction relief road which opened to traffic at the end of last month – is cutting journey times out of the town centre and officers expect to have a full traffic survey early in the New Year. Meantime, with two lanes open on the new road, the need for a separate lane for buses has ceased.
“We will remove the bus lane this weekend,” says deputy leader Cllr David Molyneux. “There will be a brief overnight road closure on Friday night/Saturday morning as we clear the lines and signs. Two weeks in, traffic is flowing much more freely and, looking at the comments on social media, people are rightly pleased with the new road.”
Closing the south route out of town for a few hours from Friday 10pm has been discussed with the blue light services and the taxi and bus companies, with a signed diversion operating down Swan Meadow Road.
Other works on the outgoing stretch of the A49 will include safe pedestrian crossings (although engineers expect them to have minimal usage), landscaping and over two dozen semi-mature trees. The Pyrus Calleryana 'Chanticleer' or Ornamental pears will create a new ‘green corridor’ on Southgate.
After Christmas, but as ever, dependent on weather conditions, more intensive improvement work will begin on the inbound part of the A49. Already, the flood alleviation scheme has seen major excavation work for storm tanks, and in the New Year there will be further carriageway work and tree planting.
Cllr Molyneux adds: “The scheme is progressing on time and making a positive difference. Now that we’ve moved traffic onto the new road, we can progress the flooding works. I appreciate that there will be roadworks for inbound traffic in January and February, but with the completion of this major piece of infrastructure for our town just over two months away, I’m delighted to have seen a project move from aspiration to reality for commuters, shoppers and local people.”