Update on Wigan’s plans for safer junctions

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An update from Peter Wickett, Wigan Council‘s Senior Transport Strategy Officer…

Last summer the DfT invited local authorities to bid for funding to improve safety at junctions, on links and any other locations where there are recorded safety issues, either real or perceived. When we looked at the evidence, we found an area in Worsley Hall with four serious cycling casualties in the last five years, as well as a further 13 slight injuries on the route from Worsley Hall to Wigan town centre. The Times newspaper campaign, “Cities Fit for Cycling,” also identified a ‘dangerous’ location for cyclists on the same route, something that was later confirmed in a safety audit.

In November 2012, we used this evidence to prepare and submit a bid for funding for a cycle route that was physically separated from traffic. In an announcement at the beginning of April this year, DfT confirmed that we had been successful in securing a grant of £685,000 towards the proposals. The balance of the £8.2M ‘match-funding’ is for the Saddle Junction/Southgate scheme, through which this route passes.

When complete in 2014, the project will provide a 3km continuous length of cycle track that is physically separate from motor traffic. Many side roads will be closed to motor traffic, with the rest converted to give priority to pedestrians and cyclists, with raised tables. The crossing of main roads will be with single-stage Toucan crossings (no staggers). There will also be some selective road closures within Worsley Hall, as well as an area-wide 20mph zone, to significantly reduce the impact of motor traffic.

We consider that the segregation from traffic, combined with route continuity, will greatly improve the perception of safety. Combined with links to retail, leisure and employment at Robin Park and in Wigan town centre, we are expecting to see large increases in the number of people cycling on this corridor.

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