Early 2018 start for long-awaited A49 link road?

An artist's impression of the proposed link road
An artist's impression of the proposed link road

Construction on a key link road to the south of Wigan town centre, costing £21.5m, could start as early as next spring.

Proposals have been in the pipeline for the A49 link, connecting Chapel Lane with Warrington Road, since it was given a conditional approval in 2015.

But as a formal planning application is lodged with the borough council for the M58 link, progress with the Westwood Park to Goose Green leg of the project is also now gathering pace.

In an update report to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) on behalf of Andy Burnham, Greater Manchester Mayor and Deputy Mayor Coun Richard Leese, it has been confirmed the design development phase for the initiative has now been completed.

Jon Lamonte, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) chief executive, said: “Wigan Council and TfGM are also currently working together to develop the final business case submission, which is scheduled to be brought to GMCA for full approval in early 2018.

“Subject to securing all necessary approvals works are due to start on site in spring 2018.”

Engineers acting on behalf of the council undertook preliminary investigations earlier this year, ahead of the dual carriageway’s construction, to assess whether the work would have any effect on former mine workings.

Once the route connects with the A49 Warrington Road, it is envisaged by planners that drivers would then use Smithy Brook Road, a new stretch between Goose Green and Pemberton and the proposed M58 link, before arriving at junction 26.

Speaking at the time Mark Tilley, the authority’s assistant director for infrastructure, said: “The road will unlock land around the Poolstock area and Westwood – enabling new businesses to take advantage of a quality road network and helping us to achieve our aspiration to become the place to do business.

“It will also alleviate traffic from Poolstock Lane for local residents.”

The road formed part of the original Route 225 project, designed to unite the M6 at Orrell to the M61 at Westhoughton, which was suppposed to have been built simultaneously but is now going ahead in stages.

The bulk of the funding for the A49 link and M58 link roads have each come via the government-funded Growth Deal for Greater Manchester, with the third flagship scheme, a new Wigan bus station, currently being built.