Wigan communities are reunited as footbridge is replaced after three years
A new £1.8m footbridge over the A577 Orrell interchange, where the M6 meets the M58, has been used for the first time, connecting people living in Pemberton and Orrell.
It has been installed by Highways England after the previous structure was hit by a lorry in November 2017.
It has a higher barrier on both sides, making it suitable for cyclists, and a new ramp provides step-free access for prams and wheelchairs.
Nic Winstanley, who lives in Pemberton with her two-year-old daughter, said: “It’s a much prettier and safer route for my daughter who loves watching what’s going on around her when she’s in her buggy. The footbridge adds a nice scenic route between my house and friends and family that live in Orrell. It’s also a welcome return to a route off the busy roads that my running group have missed.”
Ann Miller, from Orrell, said: “The new bridge has brought the two areas back together and we’re really pleased to have it.
“Both my husband and I cycle to work and we’re now able to use the footbridge to get to the cycle path in Pemberton, rather than having to go the long way round and cross the motorway junction.”
Gary Knowles, from Highways England, said: “The M6 plays a vital role in connecting the country and we’re pleased we’ve been able to reconnect the communities that live on either side of it as well.
“We needed to remove the old bridge after it was badly damaged by a lorry, but we’ve been able to replace it with something even better. The new ramp means it’s suitable for the whole community and we’re delighted to see the footbridge is already proving popular.”
AE Yates was the main contractor and Wigan Council arranged for maintenance work to be done on paths leading to the bridge.
Council leader David Molyneux said: “The new and improved bridge will not only give those living in surrounding neighbourhoods an extra incentive to choose more active travel options through walking and cycling, but it provides many parents with greater assurances for their children who may be making their way to and from schools and colleges in the locality.”
Hundreds of wildflower seeds have been scattered near the footbridge and trees will be planted in autumn.