Plans revived to build £200m trunk road between Bolton and Wigan

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

Previously Bolton and Wigan jointly bid for £186m of housing infrastructure funding to deliver the strategic link. 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, Cllr 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. 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 Later that year, the Department for Transport confirmed that the scheme would be withdrawn from the national roads program.”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 ‘ deliver of new homes and jobs within the Wigan-Bolton Growth Corridor’ and ‘providing new active travel connections’.