Action call at bus firm’s new £5m base

Coun Gary Wilkes
Coun Gary Wilkes

A GIANT new bus depot has sparked road safety fears.

First Bus relocated to a £5m base on the South Lancs Industrial Estate earlier this month.

But an Independent councillor is now calling for more investment in the access road used by the 120-plus buses amid new road safety worries.

Coun Gary Wilkes wants Wigan Council to use compulsory purchase powers to buy land at Bryn crossroads to allow the entrance on Bryn Road to be widened.

He claims that the weight of single deckers using the junction to get to and from the depot is threatening pedestrians and other vehicle users because some of them are sweeping over to the other side of the carriageway to get round.

Coun Wilkes believes that the time some buses are taking to manoeuvre the comparatively tight turn is also helping to cause congestion.

He said: “I want the council to compulsory purchase the land near the chip shop and make it a wider junction which will improve traffic flow and road safety.

“There will be a loss in parking but the council can improve the car park near the Co-op Late Shop.”

The relocation of First Bus to the expansive new operations site on the South Lancs Industrial Estate in Ashton will allow the council to complete the clearance of the old Melverley Street base to make way for the new congestion busting Pier relief road.

The new depot was officially opened by North Western Traffic Commissioner Beverley Bell who unveiled a commemorative plaque in front of councillors and members of Transport for Greater Manchester.

Wigan St Cuthbert’s junior RL team was presented with £650 worth of new kit to mark the move.

The environmentally-friendly Lockett Road site is the operational home to 300 staff and more than 120 buses and has also been designed with the safety and security of staff, nearby residents and businesses firmly in mind.

Its fleet provides more than nine million bus journeys across the borough every year.

State-of-the art maintenance facilities include the latest in safety equipment and environmentally friendly systems. This includes a new premier pit cover – the first in the UK – which allows bus engineers to work in a safe environment. It also includes a modern bus wash that is designed to limit the amount of water needed to keep buses clean. A refurbishment of the existing administration block provides a new mess room, rest area, locker rooms, offices and a learner centre.

The council’s highways department confirmed today that plans are already in hand to install a new traffic light system to ease congestion problems triggered by the additional use of the junction by buses accessing the junction.