A NEW cycle lane could ‘pop-up’ in Prestwich along a busy route to Manchester city centre.

Bury Council has bid for funding to install a temporary cycle lane beginning at St Mary’s Park and continuing along Bury New Road towards Manchester.

This comes as Greater Manchester is awarded £3.1m after submitting a £21.5m bid for emergency travel measures to the Department for Transport.

Detailed work is underway between the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Transport for Greater Manchester and the 10 councils in the region to decide which suggested schemes will be installed using this funding.

The council’s proposal is for a protected cycle lane to begin in Prestwich and to continue along the A56 up to the Salford City Council boundary.

It is expected to continue from there until it reaches Manchester city centre.

The ‘pop-up’ cycle lane will be created using raised plastic ‘armadillo’ features which prevent vehicles from entering the cyclists’ space along the major road, which carries 22,000 vehicles a day.

Cllr Lucy Smith, cabinet member for transport and infrastructure, said the council is committed to creating better conditions for people who walk and cycle across the borough.

She said: “It’s great the government has acknowledged the need for more cycling infrastructure on our roads, but this bid is for temporary measures only and had to be a link to Manchester.

“There are so many other ways we can help cyclists and walkers across the borough and I hope the government put their money where their mouth is and give us the means to make walking and cycling safe for everyone.”

Lib Dem leader Cllr Michael Powell, who represents Prestwich, welcomed the move to make cycling safer, but said it is important to “get this right” in the Bury New Road area.

He said: “Although some may be keen to cycle over a longer distance to work, more needs to be done to help residents to make shorter local cycle journeys around the area.

“Two-thirds of journeys are less than five miles, most of these less than two.

“At the moment there is a lack of safe routes across Prestwich, as well as insufficient cycle storage space around the village and beyond.

“People also need space to be able to walk safely and to social distance.

“On the A56 there are many areas with narrow pavements making it difficult for people to keep two metres apart.

“The council has done nothing yet to enable people to get around safely.”

Labour councillor Richard Gold said he is “so pleased” that the Liberal Democrats have “finally” supported plans to widen pavements on the A56.

He said: “They have done nothing but criticise the upgrading of the area and widening of the pavements on A56 – the very changes which are now allowing our businesses to open safely and shoppers safe walking around Prestwich village.

“Let’s hope they stop using this important issue to try and score cheap political shots at the expense of the people of Prestwich.”