MOTORISTS along one of Wigan’s main commuter routes will face months of chaos when the road closes while essential rail works are carried out.
Bolton Road in Atherton, which is one of the borough’s busiest main roads, will be closed for nearly three months as part of work to repair a bridge along a section of the Wigan to Manchester rail line.
The works will start in June and will run for eight months and from September sections of the road will be completely closed to vehicles, causing lengthy delays.
Wigan Council and Network Rail say the work cannot be avoided because some parts of the bridge are badly corroded.
The rail company looked into strengthening the bridge but decided that the damage was so bad that it needed to be completely rebuilt.
Wigan Council’s streetworks co-ordinator Tony Hemingway said: “We take very seriously the safety of all road users and residents in the area and that is why we will have to close the bridge for repairs.
“We will be using local diversions as well as the A road alternatives which we are obliged to promote.
“There will also be a new temporary pedestrian footbridge to ensure the community can still access local services.”
The repairs to the bridge east of Atherton station are scheduled to finish at the end of February 2012.
The closure is yet another blow to road users who have been faced with a series of major roadworks along commuter routes already this year, including improvements to the Saddle Junction which started recently.
Other major disruptions have been seen along Scot Lane, Aspull, and work to transform Wallgate in Wigan town centre.