Could Wigan's route 225 finally be a reality?
There have been plans for decades and it has been in and out of favour with residents and politicians both local and national.
But it was looking likelier than ever before this week that Wigan could finally get its “route 225.”
The borough’s roads have suffered more than its share of congestion over the years and for many a major road joining the M6 at Orrell to the M61 at Westhoughton would do much to relieve traffic pressures.
Until now there has never been enough cash or political consistency to get the job done, although portions of it have been constructed as part of smaller schemes.
But now a massive £132m bid to deliver the completed route was given stage one approval by the Government after Wigan and Bolton Councils, with support from Greater Manchester Combined Authority, applied to the Housing Infrastructure Forward Fund.
The fund was created to help deliver new homes by unlocking strategic housing and employment sites on brownfield land through new infrastructure and to mitigate the impact of increased traffic.
The joint bid for Wigan and Bolton is one of only four approved to go to the next stage in Greater Manchester and by far the biggest.
It will deliver at least nine road infrastructure projects which will enable an estimated 12,000 new homes to be built in the coming years at: Westwood Park; North Leigh Park; South of Hindley; Pemberton Colliery phase two; Land at Wigan Enterprise Park (Phoenix Way to Seaman Way); East of Atherton; South Atherton; and Westhoughton Bypass.
It will also continue the link road north from Atherleigh Way to support the delivery of additional sites through to the M61 in Bolton.
Such a huge plan is unlikely to please everyone. Indeed, there were several protests when the route (later called tha A5225) appeared on plans again, especially if it felt that amenities or wildlife were threatened.
There have been some concerns about the Westwood section of the road affecting the Flashes nature reserve and locals put up resistance to the Pemberton to Goose Green section in the 1990s before it was dropped again, although the Bulls Head and several homes on Warrington Road were later demolished to make room for another section.