Cyclists have been reassured that a new custom-made route in Wigan won’t have them dodging trees.
Motorists driving past the ongoing excavations on Robin Park Road could be forgiven for thinking from the way things are developing that two-wheelers will eventually be chicaning around arboreal obstacles.
But while the council sticks to its green credentials beyond improving facilities for those on bike and foot by not chopping any of the trees down, the kerbside path currently appearing is for pedestrians only. The new cycle lane is being constructed beyond the pavement, up against the fencing, which will allow the bikes a clear ride.
The works are part of a scheme to encourage bicycle travel in Wigan. Last year the local authority was awarded £2.1m from the Department for Transport Cycle City Ambition Grant to create five new routes connecting communities to the town centre.
Phase one comprises Robin Park Road, Warrington Road (connecting Alexandra Park to Saddle junction) and the Wallgate/Queen Street junction. Drivers will have to prepare for more disruption when work starts on phase two next month, especially at the Saddle. The Pemberton cycleway is also being extended into surrounding residential areas.
It is hoped former Olympic gold medallist and Greater Manchester cycling “tsar” Chris Boardman will drop in next month to see how the work is progressing. In the meantime the council was keen to clarify the tree-bike issue.
Emma Barton, assistant director for economy and regeneration, said: “The segregated cycle path will be at the back of the footway, providing a safe and direct route between Saddle Junction and Montrose Avenue.
"The route will revert to shared-use for pedestrians and cyclists where it meets crossings points or junctions. We will be preserving the trees along Robin Park Road and these will be incorporated into the pedestrian path. Cyclists will not be affected by the trees.
“We are really pleased with the works so far as part of our plans to develop a well-connected, safe and accessible cycling network across the borough, both on highway and off road, so people are encouraged to travel by bike.”