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Saddle up for new Saddle junction

16 January 2019

A major transport scheme praised by Greater Manchester Cycling and Walking Commissioner Chris Boardman as being one of the most advanced in the UK was officially opened in Wigan today.

Chris was joined by councillors, local cyclists and walkers to try out the new cycleway at Saddle junction. This is one of the town’s busiest road junctions and now has a network of cycleways and crossing points, which are completely separated from six lanes of motor traffic.

The new £2.1m scheme, which has been delivered by Wigan Council, is part of the Cycle City programme led by Transport for Greater Manchester with Department for Transport funding.

The new routes provide safer and more convenient cycling and walking facilities to and through Saddle junction, linking Marsh Green, Kitt Green and Newtown with Robin Park and Wigan town centre. They have been designed to appeal to people who wouldn’t previously have considered cycling locally.

There are two-way dedicated cycle crossings, with low-level signals for people travelling around Saddle junction by bike.

The 0.6 mile cycleway along Robin Park Road, from Saddle junction to Hunter Road, is separated from the pedestrian footpath by a kerb and protects both walkers and cyclists from motor traffic. New pedestrian and cycle crossings have also be installed along the route.

Improvements are currently being made to the traffic light junction at Wallgate and Queen Street, including a combined pedestrian and cyclist ‘Toucan’ crossing and upgraded shared use pavement to connect the existing cycling and pedestrian route from Saddle junction into the town centre. Some further minor cabling and lining works at Saddle junction will be completed shortly.

In response to suggestions made in the public consultation, improvements have been made to the cycling and walking routes in and around Wigan town centre, with additional cycle parking created.

Councillor Carl Sweeney, portfolio holder for environment at Wigan Council, said: “We’re excited that this innovative, collaborative project is now open. Thank you to everyone in Wigan for bearing with us while the works took place.

“Offering suitable cycling facilities and lanes will give people more confidence to get on their bikes, which 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 connecting to Robin Park Road and Wallgate will make life easier for everyone coming in and out of the town centre.

“We have worked hard to keep motorists and businesses updated with the project as it progressed and we would like to thank them for their cooperation during this time.”

Chris Boardman is keen for as many people as possible to see cycling as a safe, convenient and easy way to travel.

In June he launched an innovative proposal to create a city-region-wide cycling and walking network made up of more than 1,000 miles of routes, with 75 miles of segregated bike lanes.

He said: “I’m delighted to see the great work Wigan Council and TfGM has done on this new scheme. The innovative new crossings at Saddle junction offer complete segregation from motor traffic – exactly what people told us they needed in order to switch to two wheels for trips to the shops, work and school.

“We’re working with Wigan Council to further enhance this scheme at the Victoria Street and Warrington Road junction. The project will provide more high-quality cycling and walking infrastructure connecting with Alexandra Park.”

To find out more about the cycling and walking schemes in Greater Manchester, visit the Made to Move pages.