New M6 junction scheme stalls

The M6 at Junction 27
The M6 at Junction 27

SPECULATIVE calls for a new motorway junction off the M6 to ease Wigan congestion problems have stalled before even getting out of first gear.

The proposal was pitched by Standish councillor George Fairhurst but has been quashed by a Highways England boss as the overall cost would be “too prohibitive”.

My understanding is that the infrastructure plan that was used to support the delivery of the housing sites at Standish had no suggestion of a new junction at the M6, rather it simply proposed a number of local junction improvements

Coun George Fairhurst

Fitting an extra exit route between junctions 26 and 27 would be “difficult”, road network experts added.

Coun Fairhurst’s motion was discussed at September’s meeting of the full council with the Standish Independent Group representative claiming it was a “non-political” suggestion.

He asked the council to consider all options for a Standish bypass and a new motorway junction, linking to Martland Park and the DW Stadium.

The town hall agreed to consult with Highways England as they would have the final say.

In response, team leader Mr Lee said: “Firstly, there would need to be a compelling economic argument that demonstrates that there are overall benefits to both the Strategic Road Network and the wider economy for providing any new junction.

“As far I am aware no such argument has been tabled.

“My understanding is that the infrastructure plan that was used to support the delivery of the housing sites at Standish had no suggestion of a new junction at the M6, rather it simply proposed a number of local junction improvements.

“Secondly, actually fitting a new junction between Junction 26 and Junction 27 of the M6 would be difficult as the spacing between junctions would either be too short or the overall cost too prohibitive.”

The Highways England response will be discussed at the next meeting of the full council which takes place at Leigh Town Hall next week.

Coun Fairhurst had told the previous proceedings: “I’m not going to say it should be this, that or the other. I just want the council to look at options.

“It’s not just about Standish, with all the houses coming, it’s going to be choc-a-bloc.”

Prompting deputy council leader David Molyneux to explain that improving infrastructure was a council priority.

He said: “It’s a nonsense to suggest we don’t look at infrastructure and ways to improve things constantly.”