|Pic with Bob Morris (TfGM), Peter Commins (Balfour Beatty), |
Cllr Mark Aldred (TfGM ViceChair)
and Cllr Andrew Fender (TfGM Chair).
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has appointed Balfour Beatty to design and construct the 4.5 mile busway, which will run from Leigh to Ellenbrook in Salford.
Due to open in 2015, the busway forms part of a 21km high quality bus priority route being developed between Leigh, Salford and Manchester.
The only vehicles able to use the guided section will be specially adapted buses, allowing them to avoid traffic congestion and offer passengers a smooth ride.
Services will run along on-highway bus lanes on the A580 through to Manchester city centre – providing the first cross city links from Leigh to key employment, education, health, leisure and retail destinations.
The 14 stop route (seven in each direction) follows the former railway route between East Bond Street in Leigh and Newearth Road in Ellenbrook. Walkers, cyclists and horse riders will be able to use a 4.5m wide path along the entire length of the busway, surfaced for use all year round.
All stops will be fully accessible, and will include shelters, CCTV and real time information.
Three park and ride sites will serve the busway, providing a minimum of 440 parking spaces. These will be located in Leigh, at Tyldesley Interchange and on the A580 East Lancashire Road near to the M60/61 junction.
The busway – between Leigh, Atherton and a section of the A580 East Lancashire Road to Walkden Road – will cost £68million. It is being funded through the Greater Manchester Transport Fund, for key transport priority projects.
I know many people are still to be persuaded of the merits of the Guided Busway. But the simple fact is Leigh urgently needs better public transport and this is the only project that can realistically be delivered in the next decade. Leigh can't wait forever for decent public transport.
I believe the Busway will be better than people expect and will bring a number of major benefits to the Leigh and Tyldesley areas. Not only will it halve travel times to Manchester at peak times, it will also bring more people and business back into Leigh town centre and support the continued revival of our town.
The Guided Busway alone won't solve Leigh's transport problems and that is why I will continue to make the case as best I can for a new rail station as part of HS2. I will also be working to ensure tickets for the Busway are affordable to all and a 45-minute journey time becomes a reality.