Controversial guided busway scheme finally gets thumbs up

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A CONTROVERSIAL Leigh public transport scheme is finally ‘happening’ after decades of wrangling.

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has issued a tender notice seeking expressions of interest from concreting contractors for a 7km long section of the Leigh Guided Busway.

The 21km, £78m scheme following much of the route of the former railway between Leigh/Salford/ Manchester will provide a “fast, efficient and reliable” public transport linking the town with the city via Tyldesley and Ellenbrook Newearth Road close to the East Lancs Road.

It will boost employment as well as access to, education and healthcare while, say supporters, bring opportunities for investment into the area.

But Coun Norman Bradbury, an Independent member of TfGM, said: “You have to ask £78m for what? Five miles of Guided Busway and a bus lane which only two years ago had an estimated cost of £56.2 million.

“At the time I predicted it would cost nearer £80 million, and we’re not far away from that now.

“The decision to go ahead with this misguided project is purely political, has no backing from the people of Leigh, and makes no sense to professionals in the transport industry.

“The Guided Busway will only improve journey times from Leigh to Manchester by at the most 12 minutes, but with a limited number of stops it will be less accessible to commuters, who will probably opt to use conventional services.”