Plans for an eye-catching £5m bridge that would make travelling between Oldham and Tameside easier for cyclists and pedestrians have been unveiled – and now we want your input.
The proposed 140m long structure would run across the Medlock Valley in Park Bridge - on the Oldham/Ashton boundary.
It would provide a spectacular new southern access point to the Northern Roots site – the UK's largest urban farm and country park - and better connect Oldham with the rest of Greater Manchester.
Initial funding for the design stage was funded through the Greater Manchester Mayor's Bee Network, a programme that is designed to revolutionise travel across the city-region by encouraging more people to leave their cars at home and use specifically designed safer routes.
From an initial five designs a preferred option has now been chosen – a steel girder bridge that will weather in time for an industrial look that is fitting with the area.
Residents can still comment on the discounted alternative designs before a final choice is put forward for the planning stage.
The proposed bridge – more than 30m above the ground at its highest point – would be designed with smooth surfacing with cyclists in mind.
The completed project would also include landscaping work in keeping with the area.
The scheme would also hopefully cut the number of daily car journeys on nearby roads. Currently there are some 22,500 daily car trips on the A627 and 16,900 on the B6194.
Councillor Arooj Shah, Leader of Oldham Council, said: "Oldham Council is committed to providing safer and better transport links for our residents.
"That's so people can access employment and training opportunities in other areas, but also so they can get out and enjoy what the borough has to offer.
"Our engineers have come up with some pretty eye-catching designs for this project, which would be great for cycling and also provide great views of the area and give excellent access to our Northern Roots site.
"I'd like to thank GM Mayor Andy Burnham and Greater Manchester Cycling and Walking Commissioner Chris Boardman for supporting our initial proposals so we could get things off the ground.
"We are still at an early stage in our planning, so we'd like to hear from as many people as possible. If you think you'd cycle that route to get to work, are a member of a cycling club or just use that route for leisure, please get in touch."
You can give us your views via www.oldham.gov.uk/parkbridge
Oldham Council staff have been working with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and Tameside Council on the plan.
Councillor Warren Bray, Tameside Council Executive Member for Transport and Connectivity, said: "This project will be great for connectivity between the two boroughs. It will improve walking and cycling infrastructure to make it easier, safer and more attractive to travel on foot or by bike, which are healthier, greener, more sustainable travel options.
"I'd urge Tameside residents to take part and have your say to help create the ideal scheme."
Further funding from the Greater Manchester Mayor's Bee Network fund would be needed to build the bridge.
If everything goes to plan it is expected the bridge could open in summer 2023.