The debut project in Greater Manchester’s £137m Bee Network, the largest-ever investment in the city region’s walking and cycling network, has completed in Wigan.
The works were carried out by Wigan Council and Peel L&P to improve a stretch of the Bridgewater Canal towpath in Astley, known locally as the ‘Muddy Mile’.
This section of towpath has been completely resurfaced with improved access, and the route now becomes part of the Bridgewater Way, linking Wigan Pier through Leigh, across to Salford to Worsley, Monton, and Patricroft.
The project was funded jointly by the Bee Network fund, Wigan Council, and the Bridgewater Canal Company.
Further works are planned in Wigan, including walking and cycling routes in Leigh, Atherton, and Tyldesley. Promising to “revolutionise” the on foot and by bike experience in the area, the £14.6m project aims to link town centres, businesses, retail and public transport hubs.
It includes 24 new or upgraded crossings, 6.2 miles of segregated cycling lanes, 7.8 miles of shared road paths, 11.2 miles of shared use footway, 16 on-street mini-parks with seating, planting and bike parking, as well as improvements to the streetscape.
The bulk of the money for the Bee Network is coming from Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham’s Challenge Fund, with the remainder coming from local contributions.
Burnham said: “Cycling and walking is part of Greater Manchester’s wider transport strategy, Our Network, my 10-year plan for an integrated, modern and accessible public transport system.
“Excellent cycling and walking links across our local neighbourhoods are vital to this vision, allowing people to walk and cycle easily and safely for shorter journeys. To see this first piece of the Bee Network in place and ready for many journeys is heartening.”