PLANS have been unveiled for a major revamp of an accident blackspot on one of Wigan’s busiest roads.
Wigan Council is considering introducing traffic lights at the intesection of Darlington Street East, Manchester Road and Birkett Bank, Scholes.
The existing mini-roundabout would be ditched and the smaller Kirkless Street, which also comes out at the same junction would be made one-way so that motorists could only enter the street at that point.
Supporters argue that to have four-way traffic lights would slow down traffic on the congested A577 which was recently identified as one of the borough’s busiest roads.
And the council is already moving to address residents’ concerns about the dangers of wintry conditions when the one-way system forces them to drive up the steep Lorne Street by promising to include it on the gritter route.
A council source said: “The plan for changes at this junction have been around for quite a long time but now that traffic corridor funding is available they could be implemented, subject to consultation and approval, sooner rather than later.
“There has been a general recognition that something needs to be done. The roundabout has been working above capacity and is not really suitable in that location what with a blind corner, a hill and a large amount of traffic.
“The problem would be for Kirkless Street residents because they would no longer be able to come out onto Manchester Road, but the thinking is that to keep it two ways and include it in the traffic light sequence would further slow traffic flow down.”
Kirkless Street resident Shaun Curry said: “The main issue is access and egress from Kirkless Street. If as proposed egress it to be via Lorne Street then in the winter months the residents on Kirkless Street will be stranded at the bottom of either of the hills that lead up to Lorne Street as they are inaccessible when they have either ice or snow on them.
“The house at the bottom of the Lorne Street road has had its wall crashed into on three occasions due to vehicles being unable to brake, due to conditions, coming down the hill. Whilst access to the estate would not be hugely affected if there were to be any emergency that required the emergency services, they would not be able to leave the estate if there was ice or snow on the hill.
Wigan Council deputy leader Coun David Molyneux said: “There is a feeling that the junction at Birkett Bank has had a history of accident problems. The issue with the ice on Lorne Street would be addressed by including it on the gritting route but nothing is cast in stone yet. The public still has time to have its say.”