DRIVERS are beginning to see for the first time how the new two-lane link between Wigan Pier and the Saddle Junction may make life easier for them.
Two years ago, Wigan Council announced ambitious multi-million pound plans to modernise the notoriously busy junction at Newtown with the double aim of encouraging further regeneration of the area and improve town centre vehicle flow.
And after being developed out of sight from the main roads for most of the year, the carriageway can now be seen to be taking shape, emerging under the railway bridge from Pottery Road and joining the gyratory system near Gower Street.
A spin-off of the new two-lanes-in, two-lanes out arrangement is that it opens up the land of the former First bus depot for high profile development.
Coun David Molyneux, cabinet champion for the economy, said: “The new Saddle relief road is a promise I am delighted we have delivered on - it will improve traffic flow and road safety, as well as opening up new land for jobs and investment.
“There will be two lanes of traffic to the Saddle Junction which means freeing up both the existing two lanes under the railway bridge for access into town.
“We’ve had to wait a while for funding for the new road to happen and I know the last couple of months of works may mean traffic delays. But come the new year, Wigan will have a vastly improved traffic flow in and out and that’s good news for all road-users.”
The new improvements start at a new junction on Pottery Road and run through the bus depot land, continuing south of Melverley Street and Eleanor Street and the lanes then split before the Adam Viaduct. A new riverside path will be created to the south side of the road to be used by pedestrians and cyclists before the route widens into three lanes at a new intersection with the Saddle.
Once the work is completed, the area will see:
Four upgraded pedestrian crossings and the creation of two crossings on the new road;
100 lighting columns upgraded in the area and 30 new ones;
5,250m sq of new carriageway and 5,000m sq of resurfaced carriageway;
100 trees and 2,500 shrubs;
140m of noise barrier for the residents of Eleanor Street;
A new water pumping station for drainage;
5,500m sq of new space for Chorley Nissan;
Large areas of new land available for investment and employment opportunities.