Revealed: Borough's slowest motorway stretch

M58
M58

It has the reputation of being one of the North West’s quieter routes.

But the M58 as it enters Wigan is in fact the borough’s slowest section of motorway.

New government data reveals the roads to avoid in Wigan to get to work on time, and whether delays are getting worse.

And the Department for Transport figures show that the M58 eastbound between J5 and the junction with the M6 at Orrell had the slowest moving traffic among the more significant roads in Wigan in 2018.

Vehicles there travelled at an average of just 49.5mph – and this was slightly slower than in 2017, when speeds averaged 49.7mph.

At the other end of the scale, vehicles sped along the M6 northbound between J25 and J26 at an average of 67.8mph – making them the fastest sections of road in the area.

The figures include measurements taken at 12 places on the strategic road network – major routes managed by Government-owned company Highways England – in Wigan.

They also show that the longest delays in the area were on the M58 eastbound between J5 and the M6, with drivers losing 21.6 seconds every mile when compared with the pace they would have made at the speed limit.

Across England, motorists suffered a 3.9 per cent increase in delays on motorways and major A roads last year.

Journeys took an average of 9.4 seconds per mile longer than if vehicles were able to drive at the speed limit, according to the DfT, up from 9.0 seconds during the previous year.It suggests that driving along a 10-mile section of road with a 60mph limit typically took 11 minutes and 34 seconds last year, compared with 10 minutes in free flow conditions.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “More congestion means more wasted time and money, which is clearly bad news for drivers, but it may be a case of short-term pain for longer term gain.

“Much work is being carried out on our motorways to improve capacity by upgrading them to smart motorways, but this inevitably causes delays. Nonetheless, extra capacity is badly needed as Britain now has around 38 million vehicles registered for use.”