Canal towpath set to be improved thanks to £250,000 funding
Astley Green Towpath
A well-used stretch of canal towpath is set to be transformed thanks to a £250,000 funding boost.
The mile-long stretch of path on the Bridgewater Canal, running from Higher Green Lane to the Wigan/Salford boundary, is earmarked for the upgrade.
A funding bid by Wigan Council to the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Challenge Fund has been recommended for approval by Transport for Greater Manchester. With match funding coming from Wigan Council and Peel Land and Property.
The completed towpath will promote walking and cycling in the area and will plug a vital gap in the Bridgewater Way, Astley area.
The project is expected to cost in the region of £250,000, including contributions of £37,000 from Wigan Council and £25,000 from the Bridgewater Canal Company.
The funding is set to be given the official green light by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority later this month.
These works will mark the completion of the Bridgewater Way in Wigan, creating 20 miles of upgraded towpath connecting Leigh to Manchester city centre which can be enjoyed for leisure and commuting.
As well as a surface upgrade the path will get improved access points and signage.
The investment was welcomed by local councillors who have been campaigning for the path to be improved.
Councillor Christine Roberts, speaking on behalf of Astley Mosley Common ward councillors, said: “This is very good news for the local community.
“I am sure everyone who uses this part of the towpath will be happy to see this upgrade take place.”
Initial work to clear the vegetation and install a fence is set to be undertaken by the Bridgewater Canal Company and will be completed by the end of the year.
The main improvement work will then start in the new year and be completed by the Spring.
Louise Morrissey, Director of Land & Planning at Peel said “The Bridgewater Canal Company is proud to manage this extraordinary asset which provides a green corridor throughout the heart of Greater Manchester.
“We would be delighted to see the completion of the Wigan section of the Bridgewater Way and we will continue to strive to create an inclusive and sustainable transport route across the entire 39 mile towpath.”
General Manager of the Bridgewater Canal, Peter Parkinson added: “The whole team is excited about seeing progress on site.
“Enabling works such as vegetation clearance and the installation of a timber fence are due to start on site before the end of the year.
“Subject to final Challenge Fund approval in January, the second phase of work to upgrade the surface of the towpath up to the borough boundary is scheduled to begin in the new year, with the whole programme of improvement works due to finish in March 2019."
Councillor David Molyneux, Wigan Council leader, said: “The condition of the towpath has been a concern for local residents and councillors for some time so the funding from the Mayor’s challenge fund is very welcome.
“Once final approval is given we look forward to the works taking place as soon as possible enabling people to enjoy the towpath from next spring onwards.”
The bid will be formally reported to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority meeting which takes place on December 14th.
Posted on Tuesday 11th December 2018