Two new projects proposed for Wigan to get more people walking and cycling

An aerial shot of the ongoing works at Saddle Junction
An aerial shot of the ongoing works at Saddle Junction

Two new projects have been proposed as part of the ongoing efforts to make the borough a better place to walk and cycle.

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) will ask the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) to support a project to help pedestrians in Gidlow and Swinley, as well as put in place improvements along the Bridgewater Canal in Astley.

This is all part of a major scheme to make the region a greener place by reducing pollution and getting people on foot or two wheels more often.

As part of the regional masterplan massive works are currently taking place at The Saddle junction to improve cycling facilities.

The latest announcement may get something of a mixed reaction if the public response to the current roadworks is anything to go by, with a good number of motorists getting in touch to complain about the delays at the huge roundabout.

The latest projects will be part-funded by Wigan Council but most of the cash will come from the regional Mayor’s Cycling and Walking Challenge Fund.

The Swinley scheme will involve improving access to and from Wigan town centre, with around 30 new pedestrian crossings planned.

It is expected to cost £700,000, with £20,000 coming from the town hall.

Around 0.75 miles of the towpaths in Astley along the former industrial waterway will also get new surfaces, while more signs will be installed and access improved.

TfGM says it will plug a vital gap in encouraging people to use the Bridgewater Way area.

The canal project should cost around £250,000, with the council chipping in £37,000 and the Bridgewater Canal Company providing £25,000.

Greater Manchester cycling and walking commissioner and Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman said: “We’ve now got some fantastic schemes in the pipeline and we want to fast-track works as much as possible to kick-start Greater Manchester’s transformation into a cleaner and greener city-

region.

"We know that all councils are now working on further schemes and I’d encourage people to keep in touch with their local authority to find out and feed in to what’s planned in their areas.”

The region’s mayor, Andy Burnham, said: “This is about enhancing neighbourhoods so that they work for people, making trips on foot and by bike the most attractive and easy way to travel.

“I’ve seen the difference that cycling and walking infrastructure makes to cities like Copenhagen and New York.

“Well done to all Greater Manchester councils on the schemes proposed so far and we look forward to many more being put forward in the New Year.”

GMCA is expected to rule on the latest proposals, which also includes a cycling scheme in Salford, at the end of next week.