Island traffic lights plea

The roundabout at the junction of Warrington Road, Highfield Gange Avenue and Poolstock Lane, Marus Bridge
The roundabout at the junction of Warrington Road, Highfield Gange Avenue and Poolstock Lane, Marus Bridge
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A COUNCILLOR is calling for temporary traffic lights at a busy roundabout.

Coun Gary Wilkes wants highways chiefs to agree to part-time controls at Marus Bridge island because of the effect queues are having on traffic exiting the M6 and snaking up Highfield Grange Avenue.

Coun Wilkes wants traffic engineers to undertake an immediate survey of traffic flows into the roundabout - which links Poolstock Lane and Highfield Grange Avenue with the busy A49 - to establish if it meets the Department of Transport’s strict criteria.

Average vehicle speed data for the approach to the roundabout would be key to any eventual approval.

A spokesman for the town hall’s highways department said that they were now studying the request ahead of making a detailed response.

The call comes days after Trafford Centre owners The Peel Group launched a scheme for a business park on the former Blundell’s pit site which could create hundreds of jobs, but remains dependent on using the same busy access roads.

Leader of the opposition Coun Wilkes said today that during rush hour periods traffic was now unable to leave the Junction 25 slip road because traffic had backed up so solidly from Marus Bridge island.

He fears that as possibly the busiest vehicular gateway into Wigan, the long queues could even be putting off potential investment if any visiting industrialists find themselves in the nose-to-tail jams.

And Coun Wilkes says the situation has got “visibly worse” over the last few months.

He said: “It seems to me as a driver that part time signals on the entrances to Marus Bridge island may help relieve one of the main artery routes into Wigan at peak times.

“People travelling from Poolstock and Hawkley Hall would certainly also benefit.

“I have asked the highways department whether a traffic survey has been done recently to monitor this congestion and wether it would be possible to find funding for part time traffic lights to be installed at the island.

“I’m no engineer but I have witnessed people’s frustration sitting in vehicles on the A49 and the M6 slip road waiting to get into Wigan.

“Something has to be done to relieve the pain of congestion on this very busy route not only for residents but visitors to our town because you never know who may be stuck in those queues.

“It could be potential investors who, witnessing these delays first hand are then left wondering how their workers are going to get into the town and decide to take their money elsewhere.

”Things certainly seem to have got worse over the last few months because I have noticed a huge volume of traffic coming off the M6 heading into town.”

Coun Wilkes said that a number of constituents have also highlighted the concern to him.

He said out that it seemed to be ridiculous to have bumper to bumper cars and delivery vans trying to enter the roundabout from Junction 25, but a comparatively quiet exit from Wigan on the other side of the roundabout.

Phased signals, timed to come in at rush hour periods, could ease the congestion, he believes.

He added: “Residents used to use this island as a route to cross the borough but they are not doing any more because, to be frank, the roundabout just isn’t working properly as a roundabout.

“One thing is for certain and that is with the population growing the situation isn’t going to cure itself, is it?

“We are talking about a major artery route into town that can be massively improved with a small amount of money.”