Cycle lane set for opening

View of the wide pavement, which will become cycle paths, on Ormskirk Road, Wigan
View of the wide pavement, which will become cycle paths, on Ormskirk Road, Wigan

A CYCLE lane will finally open this summer after being dogged by long hold-ups.

Plans were unveiled in April 2014 for the mile-long path from the town centre up to Pemberton.

It came on the back of a £734,000 grant from the Department of Transport’s Cycle Safety Fund.

However, despite the shared-use, unsegregated, two-way cycle track being set for opening last year, a problem with the contracter has meant that there has been a year-long delay on the official opening.

Work has now been completed though and the path has already been used by cyclists.

It takes cyclists along the widened northern footway of Wallgate from the railway bridge, the widened southern footway through Saddle Junction and the widened northern footway of Ormskirk Road up to and including Ridyard Street.

Most cycle paths are built into the road but the one along Ormskirk Road has been incorporated into the pavement with a commensurate narrowing of the road.

It will separate cyclists from other traffic with the aim of preventing accidents. The stretch is one of the most dangerous in the borough.

Before last April, there had been four serious accidents involving bicycles on the route with a further 13 slight injuries.

Transport bosses analysed where in the borough had the highest number of accidents and applied for the funding.

However, frustrating delays have held up its launch.

A Wigan Council spokesman said: “Work on the cycle track is now complete and we will be working to promote its use in the coming months.

“The project was unfortunately delayed when the main construction contractor went out of business midway through the project, however our automatic cycle counters have indicated the track has already boosted the number of cyclists using the route which is fantastic news for the promotion of cycling in the borough.

“The fact the track has no markings is due to it being a shared use area and therefore we cannot use markings to say it is for exclusive use by cyclists. However, we are looking at other ways to let people know that cyclists can share this space.”