Stretford’s controversial bike lanes which saw a lane of the A56 coned off will be removed after four years.

The cycle lane was installed at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, in an effort to ‘promote walking, wheeling and cycling choices for shorter journeys’, according to Trafford Council. However, the scheme proved unpopular with some — with a petition to scrap it receiving nearly 3,000 signatures in 2021.

At the subsequent debate in Trafford Council, the authority said it was working on an ‘alternative’. 

Last year, the police were called after a thief stole more than 600 cones. At the time, Cllr Nathan Evans, Conservative leader in Trafford, said he ‘totally understood it’.

“I don’t condone it,” he added. “But when the council is totally deaf to appeals from the residents for normal behaviour, I get it. I think there are better ways of doing this.”

He said the cycle lanes had been done in a ‘ham-fisted’ way, adding: “There’s clearly a problem but the way they are treating cyclists, it’s totally ridiculous. Maybe we can’t afford [proper cycle lanes] but if we are going to do it, let’s do it properly.”

Now, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has approved a £2m funding package to install ‘safe, light-segregated walking, wheeling, and cycling infrastructure along a 1.8km stretch of the A56 Chester Road in Stretford’. It follows a similar plan approved previously from A56/Talbot Road junction to a point just north of the M60 Junction 7.

“I am going to resist the urge to individually remove each traffic cone by drop-kicking it”, joked Trafford Labour councillor Aidan Williams at a meeting of the GMCA’s Bee Network committee on Thursday (June 27). “In all seriousness this comes after the completion of our second cyclops junction… It’s been difficult and it has been a learning process.”

It was part of a raft of projects to get new cash, including three new active travel in Stockport, namely £2.7 million for the Heatons Link Phase 2 scheme, some £2.3 million for the Ladybrook Valley Phase 2 project, and £3.4 million for a Romiley to Stockport town centre route.

That was alongside £1.25 million for ‘City Centre Bus Strategy Phase 1’ works, a £1.5 million fund for a Metrolink ‘tram-train pathfinder’, and £810,000 to widen the A560 Stockport Road around the M67 junction and Hattersley Viaduct Refurbishment.