Saddle up for change

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MOTORISTS are being urged to be patient as work on on a multi-million pound road regeneration project continues.

The long awaited improvements to the Saddle Junction, on the A49 close to Wigan town centre, started in January and once finished it is hoped that it will help regenerate business in the area.

The junction has been a source of major congestion for many years and the project will transform the ‘south central’ approaches to the town.

But the project has not been without its problems and residents of Eleanor Street have objected to it from the beginning.

The the road will pass within five metres of the previously peaceful road and residents’ concerns included: lack of consultation about noise pollution and being marooned on an island surrounded by busy roads.

And an end terrace on Eleanor Street is one casualty having to go to make room for the new road while Melverley Street bus depot has also had to close and relocate.

During the disruption Council bosses are continuing to ask motorists for their patience.

The development has seen significant progress in recent weeks with the new parts of the carriageway and brand new state of the art street lighting being installed.

Work is continuing during off peak times with improvements to pedestrian crossings.

Council leader, Lord Peter Smith, visited the site as work began and although at the budget setting meeting of the Full Council last week, he told councillors that this was going to be the most difficult year financially, he also said: “It is a gloomy picture but we are still doing good things, and the Saddle Junction is one example of this which shows our commitment to addressing concerns over congestion and the need for regeneration.”

Nearby, a major environmental improvement scheme will be running alongside the project on Wallgate from Monday March 21 for 26 weeks with various traffic restrictions at times.

The footway and carriageway between Queen Street and Library Street will be resurfaced in a bid to improve the area.