Wigan to Bolton trunk road plans dating back to the Second World War are back on the table

Plans for a long-awaited £200m trunk road linking Wigan and Bolton are to be revived.

By Chris Gee
Friday, 14th January 2022, 3:04 pm
Updated Friday, 14th January 2022, 3:17 pm
A map dating back to the 1990s showing the yet-to-be-built A5225
A map dating back to the 1990s showing the yet-to-be-built A5225

The towns' two councils are set to work together to push for the massive infrastructure project which would link junction 5 of M61 with junction 28 of the M6.

Plans for such a road date back almost 80 years with a route first identified shortly after World War II and would constitute another section of the road variously known as route 225 and the A5225 which ultimately aims to link the M6 at Orrell with the M61 at Westhoughton. Parts of it have already been constructed including the A49 link road between Westwood and Goose Green.

Previously, Bolton and Wigan jointly bid for £186m of housing infrastructure funding to deliver the strategic link.

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Backers say the trunk road would hugely ease congestion

That bid was unsuccessful, however Homes England gave feedback that the bid or a combination of bids could be suitable for longer term

funding.

One of the main objectives for a new road would be to reduce traffic flows through Westhoughton, where there has been a huge expansion of housing developments with the town often suffering from traffic congestion.

Bolton and Wigan have continued to work with Homes England and other Greater Manchester partners to identify how the complex scheme could be broken down into more deliverable sections.

A report to be considered by Bolton’s cabinet member for regeneration, Coun Adele Warren has been written by Bolton’s director of place, Gerry Brough.

He said: “The connections between Bolton and Wigan in an east/west direction have for decades been seen as needing resolution, but the complexity of the infrastructure requirements have resulted in this route not being successful in achieving funding or being delivered.

“The aspirations for a link road go back to the immediate post-war period when a scheme (Route 225) was identified in the road plan for Lancashire.

“A route to the west of Westhoughton was in a plan in the early 1980s and a route included in the national trunk road program in 1985.

“A detailed route, the A5225, was approved in the early 1990s with a draft order recommended to be made in 1996 following a public inquiry.

“Later that year, the Department for Transport confirmed that the scheme would be withdrawn from the national roads program.”

Mr Brough identified ‘issues’ surrounding such a huge project.

He said: “There is a significant amount of work to be undertaken by all parties to develop the route and detailed design of the key link across the main railway line and to connect this at either end to J5 of the M61, within Bolton, and Atherleigh Way in Wigan.”

As well as easing traffic flow in Westhoughton, the report said other benefits of the scheme included ‘ delivery of new homes and jobs within the Wigan-Bolton Growth Corridor’ and ‘providing new active travel connections’.

Next Monday, Bolton’s Coun Warren is set to agree a memorandum of understanding which sets out the intention of Bolton and Wigan councils to work together to achieve a shared vision and objectives.

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