20 July 2021 | Innovation

Work to connect Wigan Pier with town centre by foot and bike begins

Work to better connect Wigan Pier with Wigan town centre has commenced.

New segregated cycling and walking facilities will be installed, lighting improved and better crossings created as part of the scheme known as The Road to Wigan Pier.

Named after the 1937 book by George Orwell, the scheme promises to provide a safer and more attractive link to the new Pier development and encourage those travelling by train to visit the complex when complete.

The plans for the Pier Quarter include building eight modular town houses by the canal alongside a wedding venue, gin distillery, microbrewery and food hall.

Work on the new walking and cycling scheme will take approximately 20 weeks to complete and the route should be ready to use later this year.

The launch of the scheme, which will be led by Wigan Council with funding from Greater Manchester, comes after a four-week public consultation.

Wigan Council leader, Councillor David Molyneux, thanked the businesses and members of the public who took the time to provide their feedback on the new scheme.

He said: “It’s vital we understand the full picture when shaping these schemes, including any opportunities and concerns identified by the public.

“The new route and facilities, as well as complementing a new commercial development in the town centre, will connect to other schemes nearby and the wider network, which will further improve the walking and cycling experience.

“It’s been an ambition for the council for a long time to improve connectivity and safety for all road users, which includes providing reliable alternative options if we are to encourage people to leave the car at home.”

The new route, another step forward in joining up the Greater Manchester Bee Network, will connect to the cycle facilities already created at Saddle Junction.

However, as part of the plans, the council will permanently close Miry Lane to vehicles at its junction with Wallgate in order to improve road safety.

Traffic will still be able to access the industrial area via Wilcock Street, Clayton Street and Great George Street, but would have to re-route if turning right.

Coun Molyneux added: “We understand that this traffic flow alteration will be a change, but it has been proposed following analysis of how traffic operates in the area and would help us to facilitate a scheme that would have long-term benefits.

“This is also a change we have discussed with nearby businesses, who are largely on board with the alternative entrance points.

“The scheme will be operational later this year and we hope that its completion will encourage people of all abilities to make different travel choices as a result of the segregated and safer facilities available.”

The Road to Wigan Pier scheme will be funded through the Greater Manchester Growth Deal Minor Works pot and is part of the Bee Network programme.

The Greater Manchester Bee Network programme aims to create a walking and cycling network by connecting all 10 boroughs in the city-region by bike.

Wigan Council appointed Bethell Construction as the civil engineering contractor. Wilde Consultants Ltd from Stockport have provided design support services.

The Road to Wigan Pier scheme improvement work will include:

• A two-way segregated cycling facility
• Improved public realm and landscaping
• Improved footways along Wallgate between Great George Street and Haig Street
• New and improved crossing points along the route and across Wallgate and Southgate
• Improved lighting and better signage