Leigh Cycleway scheme consisted of constructing a new cycleway on a disused rail line as part of the Mayors Challenge Fund. Works involved widening 1.2km length of paths, to 3.5 metres including clearance of shrubs, installation of ducting for new street lighting and erecting new fencing, which was split into four phases to keep disruption to a minimum. The newly improved routes will provide access links for pedestrians and cyclists to Leigh Sports Village and other local amenities, encouraging sustainable travel and a healthy lifestyle.
Paths were surfaced with Flexipave, a 50/50 mix of recycled rubber derived from vehicle tyres and a natural stone aggregate. The use of recycled vehicle tyres makes the material extremely eco-friendly, helping towards the reduction of carbon targets and it enabled a sustainable drainage system due to being highly porous, thus allowing water and air to flow through in high volume. Another advantage to the scheme was its sympathetic nature to the existing tree’s as it is exceptionally flexible.
The full scheme was developed by George Cox, we collaborated with the client to create the design and specification. This was provided through pretender budget costings, enabling the client to have confidence in our budgetary control through offering a series of options including material options, using our own expertise to design and guide the client whilst still working in partnership.
Our main challenge encountered was to maintain the pedestrian access and routes to the local amenities. Works coincided with a series of events being held by the Sports Village such as cross country runs which were usually taken place on the paths under construction. Instead of the scheduled events being cancelled, we worked closely with their events co-ordinator to develop alternative routes, creating short lengths of suitable temporary paths to allow the events to proceed. A particular member of the public with visual impairments contacted Wigan Council due to using the route on a regular basis, however our site manager, Chris O’Neill, took it into his own hands to make direct contact to prewarn the pedestrian of our movements and closures.
An ecological report was conducted prior to commencement documenting protected species such as batts, otters, and hedgehogs. From this, we drew up a specialised method statement paying particular attention to safeguarding the mentioned wildlife and surrounding environment ensuring all operatives were briefed. As part of the construction was adjacent to a fishing lake, it was required for us to change the materials used within the structure of the footpath from limestone to gritstone to make certain the environment was not impacted. The route throughout the wooded area was chosen and adjusted for minimal tree removal required therefore the tree’s lining the routes were sympathetically pruned by arborists, this ensured the area of natural beauty had minimal visual impact.
Careful planning, timing, and availability of diversion routes allowed the programme to be completed 4 weeks ahead of schedule and under budget which in turn offered savings to our client through value engineering.
From our continuous hard work and support to the community and amenities throughout this scheme, we have secured further opportunities around the Sports Village. This has taught us that always applying our caring ethos instils confidence in both our clients and communities. We were able to deliver the project with minimal disruption despite the areas being heavily trafficked. Blending into nature, being environmentally friendly and creating a fantastic, finished product not just for cyclists but also for wheelchair users, pushchairs, and those with limited mobility.