FRUSTRATED motorists in Wigan are facing longer and slower commutes to work due to congestion, new government figures reveal.
Average speeds and journey times on the borough’s A-roads during morning peak times are worse than both the national and regional average.
The figures, released by the Department for Transport, show that despite multi-million pound schemes to ease congestion in Wigan town centre, certain areas remain traffic jam hot-spots.
Wigan Council’s deputy leader Coun David Molyneux told the Wigan Evening Post that easing congestion remained high on the local authority’s agenda.
He said: “One of our priorities is to improve the connectivity and accessibility of Wigan borough through a robust transport infrastructure.
“The plans aim to alleviate congestion while promoting more environmentally friendly and healthier ways to travel.
“To achieve this, the council approved the transport strategy earlier this year, which includes ways to improve and expand existing public transport links to improve reliability, frequency and variety of destinations.”
According to the figures Wigan commuters are forced to travel at an average speed of 20.3mph, significantly less than the North West (22.5) and national (24.9) averages.
And in terms of the time it takes to travel one mile, the borough’s drivers are taking 2.96 minutes compared to the regional (2.67) and national (2.41) averages.
Earlier this year, the council splashed out £12m on the Saddle relief project, the first major road to be built in Wigan borough for decades.
Coun Molyneux said: “Since opening earlier this year, the road has made a massive difference to commuter times. The average journey time from Chapel Lane to Saddle Junction is now just two minutes 14 seconds, compared with twelve minutes, 38 seconds before the improvements.
“Thanks to the Local Pinch Point funding, awarded to us by the Department for Transport in October 2013, we’re now progressing with a scheme to improve the A49/Marus Bridge junction.
“This scheme will significantly enhance the accessibility and connectivity of the borough through enhanced transport infrastructure, which is vital for economic growth in the town centre and to support several development opportunities along the A49 corridor. It is envisaged that the works will take place next summer.”