Calls for new M6 junction ruled out

The M6 from Junction 26 at Orrell
The M6 from Junction 26 at Orrell

A speculative proposal for an extra Wigan motorway junction has been rejected at an early stage by highways bosses.

Councillors raised the question of a congestion easing extra turnoff between junctions 26 and 27 at a town hall meeting earlier this week.

But any plans were swiftly nipped in the bud as a traffic manager told members too many accidents had been recorded between the existing junctions for an extra one to be considered.

Proposals for an extra junction to ease traffic throughout the borough’s network have often reared their head in recent years and a similar plan was recently debated by the full council.

Although members have always been informed it would be a costly and unfeasible option.

Instead, town hall bosses have said their network management plan (NMP) would tackle congestion across the borough and have pledged to “improve communication with ward members and residents on the progress of major schemes.”

Latest figures suggest Wigan’s commuters are facing increasingly frustrating journeys to work but officers have recently claimed the borough’s journey times are among the best across Greater Manchester.

And the yet-to-be finished A49 link road - a dual carriageway between Goose Green and Westwood Park - has been cited as an example of a congestion-busting scheme brought in by the town hall to tackle traffic woes.

However, the figures, released by the Department for Transport earlier this year, show average speeds decreased from 19.4 to 19mph and the minutes per mile average increased from 3.1 to 3.17 on A-roads during the morning commute.

Minutes from the Confident Places Scrutiny Committee meeting read: “The Traffic Manager advised that Highways England had previously considered a proposal for an additional junction on the M6, however, there had been too many traffic accidents recorded between junctions 26 and 27 which meant it was not feasible to put an additional junction in.”

Members of the committee also urged officers to monitor the impact on traffic from the numerous new housing developments set to be built in the borough in the coming years.

Calls for a new motorway junction have been heard before at council.

Last year Coun George Fairhurst called on the council to run a consultation to consider a new junction off the M6, linking to Martland Park and the DW Stadium. The new junction would, the councillor claimed, ease congestion through his Standish ward.

He said: “It’s not just about Standish, with all the houses coming, it’s going to be choc-a-bloc.”

But council leader Lord Smith said a bypass could open up previously inaccessible land to future housing plans.

And deputy Coun David Molyneux explained that similar plans had previously been considered.

He added: “It’s a nonsense to suggest we don’t look at infrastructure and ways to improve things constantly.”