A £220m link road has been proposed to improve connectivity and ease congestion from Leigh to other areas of the borough.

With the idea touted for almost 80 years, the borough-wide road would link junction 5 of M61 with junction 28 of the M6 and bring connectivity between Leigh, Hindley, Wigan, Ince, and Pemberton.

One part of the link road, the A49, is already up and running around Pearson's Flash in Wigan, and a further eleven sections would allow the rest of the borough to benefit from the alternative route.

The proposals include sections to connect Hindley with Atherleigh Way and Leigh Road, through Westhoughton to the M61 in Bolton.

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Leigh Journal: The A49 link road near Pearson's Flash in WiganThe A49 link road near Pearson's Flash in Wigan (Image: Local Democracy Service)

Working with Bolton Council to make the long-fantasized route a reality, Wigan Council believes that a long road cutting through the heart of the borough can help improve the well-known traffic problems, stimulate the local economy, and deliver more housing for residents.

The councils’ worked together on a £132m funding bid for the road in 2019, with the idea it would provide new opportunities to level up the north of Greater Manchester by ‘unlocking’ 183,096 sqm of employment space, as well as delivering 12,960 new homes across both boroughs.

However, the bid was knocked back by the Government, so the future plan for the whole link road will be determined by separate pots of money for each of the 12 sections of road.

Housing and business development will play a major factor in each case, as many sections have houses or a rebuilding project connected that would provide cash from ‘Section 106’ agreements in which developers contribute to funding local infrastructure.

Improved road connections a 'long-standing priority'

David Proctor, Wigan’s assistant director for planning and regeneration, said: “Delivering improved road connections between Wigan and Bolton is a long-standing priority for Wigan Council.

“A joined up east-west road network in Wigan Borough, linking the M6 and the M61, will bring a range of benefits to residents, from reducing journey times and supporting businesses to boosting economic growth.

"Crucially it will help unlock brownfield housing sites and deliver much needed new homes in the borough.

“While our joint bid with Bolton Council to the government’s Housing Infrastructure Forward Fund was unsuccessful, we are continuing with our commitment to deliver these improvements, including working with partners to unlock further funding opportunities.”

While the A49 link road is open to traffic, much of the other developments are still in the planning stage.

With Wigan and Bolton Council's having to generate separate funding for each project, it means that the entirety of the link road could take far longer than the estimated completion date of 2037 to become a reality.