Proposals for around 540,000 sq ft of road upgrades and other transport infrastructure to serve the £30m RHS Garden Bridgewater have been lodged, ahead of the scheme’s expected completion in July.
Salford City Council’s planning application proposes upgrading, resurfacing and widening roads around the 154-acre garden, which has been touted as the largest gardening project in Europe, as well as building an additional canal towpath, along with walkways, cycleways and road crossings to improve links to the site.
The full list of proposed transport improvements 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 plans
- 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 linking to 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
The application is intended to help the council build sustainable walking and cycling lanes to and from the RHS Bridgewater site, and connect Walkden, Worsley and Boothstown. Construction of this transport infrastructure is anticipated to take nine months.
The scheme sits close to Salford’s traffic-free walking and cycling paths but does not currently link to it. The proposal calls for the creation and improvement of linkages and support highways works that are not part of this application, but form part of the overall RHS development.
A primary access junction into the site from Leigh Road has already been completed and improvement works to junction 13 started in January, the council said.
Bam Construction is already on site delivering the 154-acre garden on behalf of the Royal Horticultural Society, and Arcadis is managing the project. 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 will form part of a 10-year £160m investment programme announced by the RHS in 2015.
Delivery of the project marks the first new RHS Garden in 17 years, according to Arcadis.
The application for road improvements would be the final phase of off-site highway works. There is an underlying “ethos is to provide people with a safe and attractive to accessing the site by car, thereby promoting sustainable travel choices for short trips and supporting broader objectives for improved health and wellbeing,” said Urban Vision.
“The key driver underpinning this project is to create new and improved walking and cycling links to the RHS Bridgewater site through the provision of an attractive, safe and high quality integrated route connecting the site to Walkden, Worsley and Boothstown.”