‘Complexities’ in the design of the M58 link road in Wigan could lead to extra costs and delays.
Part of the new £23m road will run over part of Pemberton railway station, and a report has warned that a workaround has ‘impacted on costs and programme’.
The link road is designed to ease congestion and improve air quality on one of the borough’s busiest roads by connecting an M58 and M6 junction to the outskirts of Wigan town centre.
Greater Manchester leaders have been told to expect a full business case for the road in early 2020 once the detailed designs, and building consents, have been secured.
A report presented to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority on October 25 said: “Complexities in agreeing an appropriate design solution for the Network Rail structure affected by the link road have impacted on costs and programme.”
Wigan council say changes to cost and timescale are ‘not uncommon’ in major infrastructure projects – but a senior officer would not be drawn on specific budget or timetable pressures.
Becca Heron, director for economy and skills, said: “Costs and timescales are continually reviewed throughout any project development in line with best practice.
“It is not uncommon, particularly in large-scale infrastructure projects, to come across circumstances requiring initial plans to adapt.”
Under the proposals a new road would join the motorway at the western end of Leopold Street, bypassing the busy A577 before connecting to Billinge Road, near Pemberton railway station, and on to Pemberton Business Park.
The project received planning permission last year, with the council’s website estimating work to finish by 2021.
Ms Heron continued: “We are still in the process of developing detailed designs for the M58 link road scheme and we are working hard to ensure the final design is effective, provides value for money and takes into consideration the points raised by partners.
“When complete, the new link road will transform our road network by providing better connectivity, reducing journey times and improving congestion.”
The M58 project will join on to the A49 link road currently being built to the east, which will bypass Poolstock Lane by bridging over the busy road and the Leeds-Liverpool canal.
Both schemes are being partly funded through the Greater Manchester Local Growth Deal’s transport programme.
The region will pay £10.9 million towards the M58 link road, together with £5 million from the Housing Fund. Wigan council, Highways England and other investors are expected to pay the rest.
A spokeswoman for Wigan council said talks with Network Rail were ongoing as the designs are drawn up.