Design changes proposed to major M58 link road

Wigan Council has released a new design for a section of the road

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 9:50 am
Updated Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 9:52 am
A map of the M58 link road junction near Pemberton station
A map of the M58 link road junction near Pemberton station

Proposed changes to the pending M58 link road will minimise long-term disruption and improve traffic flow, according to council chiefs.

Wigan Council has released a new design for a section of the road, which will connect J26 of the M6 with Wigan town centre via the A49 link road once complete.

Proposals include changing the Billinge Road junction near Pemberton train station to create a new bridge, which the authority say will lead to significantly reduced road closures and disruption.

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An aerial view of what the M58 link road will look like coming away from junction 26 of the M6 at Orrell

The existing plans, which have been approved by planning committee, mean that the local authority would need to take responsibility for a 150-year-old bridge over Pemberton railway.

Network Rail, which owns the bridge, expressed concerns about the structure’s capability to accommodate increased traffic, without substantial refurbishment.

After exploring the costs, timescales and implications for long-term maintenance of the bridge, link road design contractors, Balfour Beatty and Atkins, found an alternative option avoiding the structure altogether.

Becca Heron, director of economy and skills at the council said: “If we go ahead with the existing plans, we predict large-scale disruption and possible 12-month road closures.

“Obviously, this would be highly inconvenient for people who live nearby as well as commuters. As a result, we propose to construct a new bridge, which will also lead to a more conventional and efficient highway junction.”

The new proposals also means that:

- The majority of construction works can take place off the highway

- There will be reduced temporary diversions

- There will be no need to provide new access to the train station, reducing disruption further

- The approved design also prohibited a right turn from the Smithy Brook Road side of the link road onto Billinge Road and a short section of Enfield Street was to be made one way.

- The changes will allow motorists to travel in all directions and Enfield Street will continue to accommodate two-way traffic.

Ms Heron added: “Once complete, the link road will significantly improve connectivity both in and out of the borough, in turn creating new opportunities for housing and development.

“Local residents will also benefit as congestion on local roads, including the notoriously busy A577 Ormskirk Road, will be eased.

“The changes will need to go back through the formal planning process before any works are carried out, however, before a new application is submitted, we’re keen to engage with local residents and hear their feedback so we can ensure any application is aligned with local need.”

It is hoped a new application will be submitted this summer and over the next few weeks, the local authority will engage directly with households in the immediate area that will be affected by the changes.

For more information about the M58 link road, visit www.wigan.gov.uk/majorprojects.

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