PLANS to remove a notorious roundabout which has been dubbed Kamikaze Island by drivers have been announced by Wigan Council.
The traffic refuge near the centre of Leigh where Twist Lane crosses Atherleigh Way, which is also connected to the access route for the Parsonage Retail Park, home of the town’s recently-opened Sainsbury’s store, will be replaced by a junction controlled by traffic lights, the local authority has confirmed.
The roundabout has gained a reputation as a potential accident hotspot due to the volume of traffic on the island and the number of entrances and exits, with several incidents and near-misses occurring there.
The construction work will last for around 20 weeks, although it is not yet clear whether there will be diversions in place or other measures to minimise disruption to motorists,
However, the council’s head of infrastructure Mark Tilley did confirm that the authority would work carefully to ensure any potential traffic problems during the work were minimised.
The work, which will also include improving the pedestrian crossings on the junction, will be paid for using money raised from the development of Bickershaw Colliery.
Leigh MP Andy Burnham welcomed the council’s decision and said the re-modelling work would aid safety and make driving around the town considerably easier.
He said: “I think there will be a sigh of relief breathed around Leigh when people realise that Kamikaze Island’s days are officially numbered.
“Driving around it is like playing roulette at times, and sadly there have been accidents there down the years. I’ve said to the council for a long time it needs to go.
“The council believes the work will make the traffic flow better, and having seen the new layout I think they have got it right.
“The main priority is obviously safety, and from that point of view this is a big step forward for Leigh and another step in the regeneration of the town.”