MOTORISTS are being warned of further delays as road closures to make way for guided busway works are extended.
Work to construct guided busway crossing points at key local road junctions in Tyldesley will start this month, but after talks between Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and Wigan Council the current closure of Hough Lane will continue until December to complete all the road works at this location and lessen the disruption to traffic on Manchester Road and the surrounding area.
Hough Lane has been closed since April to allow National Grid to replace the high pressure gas mains pipe next to the bridge, and this work has now been completed.
A spokesman said: “The alternative to a full closure – to reopen Hough Lane using temporary traffic signals to control two-way traffic – has been carefully considered.
“However, this would mean that work would carry on for much longer, until February 2015 – 8 weeks longer than if work is carried out under an extended full closure – with the lane restrictions having to remain in place over the Christmas period.
“This would also result in works overlapping with the start of construction for the Astley Street busway crossing point, meaning that a single lane contraflow would be in place on both junctions through December and January and into February.
“The continued full closure of Hough Lane will be less disruptive to local residents and traffic flow in the area. TfGM is now writing to residents to let them know.”
Peter Boulton, Transport for Greater Manchester’s Head of Programme Management Services, added: “We fully appreciate that the continued closure of Hough Lane will be disappointing to residents and it is not a decision that has been taken lightly.
“We’ve chosen this option as it will be much less disruptive than partially reopening Hough Lane for a much longer period of time. Keeping a good flow of traffic on Manchester Road and Sale Lane was the key consideration in making this decision.
“We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this may cause, but assure residents that at every step of the project we are doing our best to minimise disruption.”
Leader of Wigan Council, Lord Peter Smith, said: “I know some people may find the extended closure of Hough Lane frustrating. I’d ask residents to bear with us. Everything possible is being done to keep disruption to a minimum and this is the best option in the long-term.
“The building of the busway is a major infrastructure project. It will take time and involve some unavoidable disruption. Once complete, the busway will bring significantly improved transport links to the area benefiting all residents.”
Access to individual properties will remain as it is now. The alternative route for traffic will remain as Sale Lane, Mosley Common Road, East Lancashire Road, Chaddock Lane and Manchester Road. Diversion signs will remain in place.
The road closure does not affect pedestrian access and a footway will be available at all times during this work, allowing pedestrians and dismounted cyclists to continue to use the route.
In addition, a full road closure will be required on Astley Street in January 2015 for approximately five months to enable construction of the busway crossing point. This is 2.5 months less than if a partial closure was introduced.
The full closure of Astley Street will also avoid an overlap in the works taking place at Hough Lane, which will help to minimise the disruption. TfGM will write to residents nearer the time with more information.
Construction work started last year on the 4.5 mile guided busway, which is due to open in 2015. The busway will run between Leigh and Ellenbrook, joining up with bus lanes on the A580 East Lancs Road into Manchester with a journey time of less than 50 minutes.
More information about the Leigh-Salford-Manchester busway – and the wider Cross City bus priority package – can be found at www.tfgm.com/buspriority.