|Transport boost would put Wigan Borough on the right track
Wigan Borough could get up to £37million to pay for vital transport projects – if a Greater Manchester bid for government money is successful.
The Greater Manchester Combined Authority is bidding for £200 million from the Department of Transport to pay for transport improvements. Three Wigan Borough schemes have been put top of the list in the bid. They are the A49 link road into Wigan town centre, the new M58 link road and the redevelopment of Wigan bus station.
The news has been welcomed by the Leader of Wigan Council who says the schemes would “transform the borough’s infrastructure”. Lord Peter Smith says he is optimistic they will get the green-light and bring huge benefits to the borough once built.
Lord Smith said: “This takes us a big step closer to realising our long-term ambition to get these crucial projects built. They would transform our transport infrastructure bringing significant economic benefits, cutting journey times and increasing the borough’s connectivity.
“It’s fantastic news all three local schemes have been prioritised within the Greater Manchester bid. There’s still a long process to go through but I’m confident we have a strong case and we will continue to make it regionally and nationally. The government says it has earmarked the money, now we must work hard to convince them to hand it over.
“Improving our infrastructure is vital. We need a transport system that matches our aim to make Wigan Borough an even better place to live, work and do business.”
The government has promised bumper investment in the region’s transport network. If ministers approve the Greater Manchester bid, the money would be handed to local authority leaders and used to pay for priority projects. In a major boost for the borough, all three Wigan schemes have been prioritised and earmarked for funding worth up to £37million. The funding was allocated according to economic impact, which the borough’s schemes performed strongly on.
The new A49 link road, which would cost £11million, would run between junction 25 of the M6 and the southern part of Wigan town centre. The M58 link road scheme, which would cost £12million, would be a single carriageway road between junction 26 of the M6 and the A571 Billinge Road and Foundry Lane junction. The £14million redevelopment of Wigan bus station would bring improved passenger facilities.
The bid was sent to the Department of Transport on Wednesday (31 July) and ministers are expected to make a decision by summer 2014. The money would be available from 2015.