THE roads network of Wigan borough has received a boost after the council was given its first chunk of two major grants to invest in its highways.
Earlier this year Wigan Council secured two major grants totalling £3.4m as part of the Department for Transport’s Challenge Fund.
The authority was successful in two out of only 31 bids nationally.
The first grant contributes to the £1.2m which will be invested in upgrading Golborne Railway Bridge at Golborne and Morleys Canal Bridge, near Tyldesley.
The second grant will contribute towards more than £3m being invested in the busiest roads in the borough to keep their quality high and prevent surfaces deteriorating.
The grants will be paid in stages over the next two years, with the first payments received this month, and the work will be completed by March 2017.
Work on the bridges, which both carry the A580 East Lancs Road, will avoid weight and lane restrictions being imposed on the bridges.
Structural maintenance work will include deck waterproofing, renewal of joints and renewing of steelwork corrosion protection.
For the bridges work the Department for Transport (DfT) is funding £988,000 and Wigan Council will contribute £263,000.
The second grant from the Challenge Fund will fund a new surface course on 34 sections of roadway right across the borough to prevent water damage and further deterioration and make for smoother more comfortable journeys.
For this work £2.37m will come from the DfT and £631,000 will come from Wigan Council.
The borough of Wigan is ranked as having among the highest quality roads in Greater Manchester.
The council has a highways network of 1,160km which has a total value of £1.6bn.
And the authority is currently delivering a major programme of investment in developing its highway network to open up key areas to support economic growth.
Coun Kevin Anderson, Wigan Council’s cabinet member for environment, said: “The highways network is the backbone of the borough’s economy and the council recognises the importance of maintaining its infrastructure to a high standard.
“We have a long-term plan to make sure we remain a high performing council for maintaining our infrastructure so our roads can support the needs of our communities and the economic growth of our area.
“As part of The Deal we have pledged to support our local economy to grow and investment in major infrastructure projects is a key part of that.”
Wigan Council was also this year awarded £4.75m from the DfT’s Growth Deal which is devolved from the government to Transport for Greater Manchester.
This will be used to address local priorities, including the Rodney Street/Riverway junction between the Wigan Life Centre and the new Premier Inn; the New Market Street/Market Street junction outside Wigan and Leigh College and environmental improvements in the Poolstock area to complement the opening of the new A49 link road.
This grant is on top of the annual funding the council receives to maintain its highway infrastructure, which has been set as more than £20m over a six year period.
As a result the council has devised its own Highway Asset Management Strategy – which sets out how it is going to maintain its infrastructure up to March 2021, and is largely dedicated to improving roads.