RHS Bridgewater Visitor Centre

The visitor centre at RHS Bridgewater was designed by Hodder + Partners

Firms sought for RHS Bridgewater and Liverpool Street route works

Salford City Council is looking for contractors to deliver a £2.5m package of improvements to the Liverpool Street corridor and £3.25m of walking and cycling paths connecting Walkden, Worsley and Boothstown to the RHS Bridgewater garden.

The Worsley route would form part of Greater Manchester’s Bee Network of walking and cycling infrastructure. 

The scheme aims to promote sustainable travel to the Royal Horticultural Society’s £30m garden scheme by capitalising on the large catchment area of the site, which is currently in construction, the council said in documents published ahead of its procurement board meeting next week.

The full list of proposed transport improvements for which the council is seeking contractors includes: 

  • A traffic-free cycle route and footpath along the northern towpath of the Bridgewater Canal linking Worsley and Boothstown to the RHS Garden Bridgewater site. This involves installing a shared-use path connecting the towpath to the RHS site via a ramp and steps, according to the documents
  • A north-to-south road from the RHS Garden Bridgewater to Walkden Station and the car-free route 
  • Enhanced links to public transport facilities, including the A580 Guided Busway and Walkden Station 
  • Crossings provided on the A580, Leigh Road, Walkden Road, Barton Road, Occupation Lane and Birch Road 
  • A 1.5-mile canal towpath running north of the Bridgewater Canal 
  • Way-marker posts along the route 
  • Widened existing walkways 
RHS Bridgewater Transport Map

The routes will connect RHS Bridgewater with nearby towns

In total, the Bridgewater walk-cycle project, approved last month, will provide 4.6km of traffic-free routes around the 154-acre garden being delivered by Bam Construction. 

A contract for the transport work is due to be awarded in December. Work is expected to start on site in January 2021 and complete the following September. 

RHS Bridgewater gained planning permission for the site, which is part of the former Worsley Old Hall to the west of Worsley Village, in May 2017.  The project is part of the RHS’s £160m, 10-year investment programme announced in 2015. 

The RHS has pushed back the opening date for its Bridgewater garden by a year to May 2021 due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The long-awaited garden, which includes a visitor centre designed by architect Hodder + Partners, had been due to open on 30 July this year. 

Meanwhile, Salford City Council also wants to upgrade Liverpool Street, a key transport route running eastwards from Salford towards Manchester and parallel to the M602, ahead of a predicted increase in housing numbers in the coming years. 

“The proposed scheme will make it safer and more attractive to walk and cycle by improving footways and segregated cycle tracks,” according to the council. 

A contractor for this scheme could be appointed from the Manchester City Council Construction Framework in October, and Salford expects the work to start in January 2021 and take around seven months to complete. 

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