The wasteland, in North Manchester, has had a make-over to improve local people’s enjoyment for strolling and dog walking.
Staff from Highways England’s contractor, Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald, have spent much of the winter and spring on a major clean-up of the Irk Valley Additional Landscape Area (IVALA) - near junction 19 of the M60 at Middleton - which has included repairs, clearing litter and tackling flooding issues.
The land was originally purchased in the 1980s during construction preparations for what is now part of the M60 outer ring road. As well as accommodating a re-located local land-fill site it was also used to dispose of construction waste from the motorway project.
In the 1990s the Highways Agency then sealed and landscaped the site and, as well as forming a noise and visual barrier from the motorway, it became a popular recreational area with local people.
As part of its operational responsibility for IVALA, bordered by the River Irk and the Irk Valley River Trail, the Highways Agency, which became Highways England in April, reviewed conditions last year resulting in its contractor Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald delivering a raft of improvements.
Highways England project manager John Lyssejko said:
There is no public right of way to the land but we installed access points some years ago so that local people could stroll and walk dogs. In reviewing the operation of the site last year we took on board people’s feedback about litter and waterlogging and have taken steps to ensure the local community can continue to enjoy access.
As well as replacing boreholes and other equipment, the partly wooded site has also benefited from work to tackle:
- very bad ground conditions running across the top of the site
- vandalised main gate and or fencing on Boothroyden Road, near the M60 bridge over the River Irk and at Gilderdale Road
- fly tipped waste including car tyres
Because of the damaged fencing the site was also being used by off-road motorcycle users – causing a nuisance to other users and local people.
As well as repairing gates and fences the work included tidying and re-seeding the land to tackle flooding, cleaning the local authority public footpath running next to the site and a general clean up of site boundaries which were covered in litter.
Mr Lyssekjo said:
Highways England is committed to the communities who live alongside our motorways as much as we are to the people who drive along them and in our review of the operation of this site we were delighted to have had local people involved in helping to plan improvements to secure their enjoyment of the land for years to come.
We have had a lot of positive feedback about the work from local people including the efforts we have made to prevent it being used by motorcycle scramblers.
Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.
Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.