Calls for halt to road plan

Local residents John Harrison, Alison Thorpe, Susan Brassington and Councillor Jim Ellis
Local residents John Harrison, Alison Thorpe, Susan Brassington and Councillor Jim Ellis

AN opposition councillor says plans for a controversial link road should be stopped as testing has revealed unstable ground along the route.

Jim Ellis, the Wigan Independent Network (Win) representative for Hindley ward, discovered a large hole where preliminary work is being carried out on Amberswood Common.

The local authority hopes to build a new road between Liverpool Road in Hindley and the link road between Phoenix Way and Seaman Way in Ince, the final stretch of which was approved by planners earlier this year.

However, Coun Ellis is now calling for a re-think on the scheme as he says a large hole which opened up last week and was filled in had re-appeared within a few days, suggesting the ground where the road will run is unsuitable.

Coun Ellis said: “They’ve been doing some test boring and a hole has opened up on Amberswood Common where they’ve been doing it. They’ve also dug another one nearby.

“I met the people on site and said I was concerned about it because it has sunk about a foot and opened up under the footpath.

“They’ve tipped a skip load of gravel down it but when I went there recently the hole they had filled in has reopened. It’s just collapsed again.

“They’re doing tests to establish the quality of the ground and if they can’t get it right they will have to move the route. To me there’s no justification for this road to be in that location.”

However, Wigan Council has said the minor disturbances to the ground where the holes were dug is nothing to be concerned about and further testing on the site will take place.

The local authority also said the Amberswood link road is a vital part of its transport plan for the borough to relieve congestion along the A577 passing through Hindley town centre.

The preliminary investigation work saw council employees work with United Utilities and National Grid to excavate trial holes to determine the line and level of gas and water mains along the proposed route. Wigan Council assistant director for infrastructure Mark Tilley said: “Following the successful carrying out of this work the trial holes were re-filled.

“There was some slight settlement of the backfilled material which is commonplace. Further filling and compacting work was therefore carried out.

“As part of wider investigation work we will be carrying out a desk study of ground conditions to look at ground stability, hydrology and contamination as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment for the road.

“Following this an intrusive ground investigation will be carried out, including boreholes, trial pits, gas testing, groundwater monitoring and geotechnical testing.

“The analysis and interpretation of the data from these investigations will enable us make sure the road is safe and long-lasting and will minimise any further impact on the site.”