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Saddle up for the Saddle upgrade

Work to transform one of Wigan Borough’s busiest road junctions to further improve journeys for all road users will start next month.

The improvements will see two-way dedicated bike crossings introduced at Saddle Junction, including dedicated low-level signals.

Once complete, these new crossings will make it safer and more convenient for people to cycle in and out of the town centre and train stations, avoiding this complicated junction.

Improvements will also be made to the traffic light junction at Wallgate and Queen Street, including a pedestrian and bike crossing and extension of the existing pedestrian and bike route from Saddle Junction into the town centre.

The work is being undertaken as part of the Cycle City programme led by Transport for Greater Manchester with Department for Transport funding and is being delivered by Wigan Council.

It is the second part of a two-phase scheme, which will see a number of improvements to local roads, footpaths and crossings in a bid to make cycling and walking a more attractive option for residents and visitors.

The Greater Manchester Transport Strategy 2040 highlighted that almost a third of all journeys under 1km are made by car.

The recently agreed Greater Manchester Congestion Deal identified a number of measures aimed at enabling more of these very short trips to be made on foot and by bike, including ongoing delivery of the Cycle City programme.

This will not only help to tackle congestion and safety on our local roads, but will enable people to get more physical activity as part of their daily journeys and improve local air quality.

The first phase of the works will provide a dedicated 1km cycleway, separated from traffic, along Robin Park Road from Saddle Junction to Hunter Road. A number of new pedestrian and bike crossings have also been installed along the route.

Greater Manchester Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Chris Boardman, said: “Wigan Council has some really ambitious plans to create more places where people can get around without relying on cars.

“The plans for Saddle Junction are based on Dutch-style designs and are really innovative – this will be the most advanced junction for people on bikes yet in Greater Manchester, providing signalled facilities for people travelling to or from Wigan town centre.

“We’re very keen to see this model rolled out across the region.”

Councillor Carl Sweeney, portfolio holder for environment at Wigan Council said: “We’re excited that this innovative project is now taking shape.

“We’re committed to improving transport across the borough for commuters of all kind and consistently encourage people to think about alternative modes of transport so residents and visitors can reap a range of benefits.

“Offering suitable cycling facilities and lanes will give people more confidence to get on their bikes, which in turn will improve air quality and also promotes an active, healthier lifestyle.

“Saddle is one of the borough’s busiest junctions, so providing a safe and good quality cycle lane that will connect to the Robin Park Road and Wallgate cycleways will ease congestion for motorists and will provide a new route in and out of the town centre.

“We will work with TfGM to keep residents updated on the project as it progresses and look forward to seeing the end result in action.”

When complete, the improvements will provide safer, direct and convenient cycling and walking facilities to and through Saddle Junction, linking Marsh Green, Kitt Green and Newtown with Robin Park and Wigan town centre.

The project is designed to support the economic growth of the town, helping people to access employment opportunities, health, education and leisure facilities.

The Saddle Junction and Wallgate plans will work hand in hand with the Robin Park Road cycleway development.

The works on Saddle Junction and Wallgate will begin in July with the hope to be completed later this year.

To find out more about the scheme, visit www.wigan.gov.uk/majorprojects.

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