Date set for next phase of busway works

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The next stage of guided busway work in Tyldesley is set to start on Astley Street during the first week of December.

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) made the announcement following confirmation that the work currently under way on Hough Lane will be complete by the end of November.

The preferred option for traffic management on Astley Street was agreed at a recent public meeting to discuss the busway, where local people agreed to a single lane closure – to maintain traffic flow – for 22 weeks.

An additional three-week full road closure will be necessary at a later date for essential United Utilities water main works. Balfour Beatty is reviewing the timing of this closure with a view to minimising disruption to the local community. All the works should be completed by June 2015.

Following concerns from Fred Longworth High School, Wigan Council has decided to flow traffic from south to north, towards Tyldesley – a decision which TfGM supports.

Residents at the public meeting had expressed a marginal preference for the single lane of traffic to run north to south on Astley Street, away from Tyldesley, but this was before the extent of the issue for school children had been fully considered.

This decision is also supported by a council study of traffic flows in the area which showed the south-north option to be the least disruptive, with advantages including:

* Managing access to Fred Longworth High school, local primary schools and the town centre during the more important morning peak period; and

* Reducing traffic along the A577 Manchester Road and, therefore, reducing traffic west to east into Tyldesley.

Mark Tilley, assistant director for Infrastructure at Wigan Council said: “Following representations from Fred Longworth School we’ve looked at how best to manage the temporary closure on Astley Street.

“Looking at all of the evidence, clearly the most sensible option is to maintain traffic flow from south to north which will allow local school children to arrive on time for the start of their school day.

“We have shared this information with ward councillors who have endorsed our view that this is the best option and will have the least impact on local school children. We’d like to thank residents and businesses for their continued patience during this period of disruption.”

Peter Boulton, Head of Programme Management Services for Transport for Greater Manchester, added: “We’ve presented local residents and politicians with several options on the traffic management for this work and have been happy to listen to all opinions. We are now acting on the council and local high school’s advice on the direction of traffic flow.

“We will continue to keep local residents informed about the progress of work and, as ever, work with the contractor to minimise disruption where possible.”

Jan Garretts, Head teacher at Fred Longworth High School, said: “We feel that Astley Street being one-way in a North-South direction would result in numerous students being late for their morning registration and lessons.

“In the morning, the majority of our students arrive at school between 8.15am and 8.30am whereas after school this is more dispersed because they leave between 3pm and 5pm due to extracurricular and homework clubs.

“We are really pleased that we have been listened to and that our preferred route has been chosen to lessen the impact on the education of our students.”

Following the recent public meeting, all partners have agreed to host a series of public events next year to talk with and listen to local residents about the busway scheme and the planned Tyldesley town centre improvements. More information will be made available nearer the time.

Work started last year to construct the busway linking Leigh, Tyldesley and Atherton with Ellenbrook and Manchester city centre.