The Olympic Torch will be carried through the streets of Bolton tonight, and road users are being warned to plan ahead to avoid traffic chaos.
The Torch flew to Britain on Friday May 18 for its 70 day relay around the UK and arrived in the North West for the first time on Tuesday evening after a day in North Wales.
The route through Bolton, which has been set by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, requires a number of road closures on May 31 to ensure the event takes place safely.
Leader of Bolton Council, Cliff Morris, said: “It is a historic occasion for Bolton and we want to make sure that it’s a great event for everyone.
“We have been working closely with the Olympics committee, LOCOG, Greater Manchester Police and emergency services, in an effort to minimise disruption. However, we appreciate that an event of this scale means there is likely to be congestion on the roads, and disruption to businesses, residents and motorists."
Thousands of people are expected to line the streets of Bolton to catch a glimpse of the iconic torch ahead of the staging of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.
Cllr Morris added: “Roads are only being closed where necessary to ensure the safety of the large number of people expected to welcome the Olympic torch relay as it makes its way around Bolton.
“We’ve also put up road information signs, written and spoken to affected businesses, and written to residents directly affected by the closures. We would like to thank everyone for their understanding and patience.”
The torch was lit on May 10 in Olympia, Greece – the site of the original Olympic Games, and Princess Anne and Lord Sebastian Coe, chairman of London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games accompanied it on its journey to the UK.
A free Olympic concert is also being run by the council on Thursday night, where entertainment from indie rock band The Wombats, Britain’s Got Talent stars Twist and Pulse, Bolton pop star Laura White and local community groups will delight the crowds.
The concert is expected to add to the traffic on the roads asBoltongets into the Olympic spirit ahead of the summer.
David Grunwell, Highways Agency regional director for the North West, said: “Road users who are planning to use routes in the North West near relay venues can help themselves by planning their journey in advance and leaving extra time to complete journeys.
”Highways Agency Traffic Officers will be patrolling the motorways in the North West to clear any incidents quickly, while staff at the regional control centre at Newton-le-Willows will be monitoring the network via CCTV and using other state-of-the-art technology to keep traffic moving."
Overview of the route
The torch arrives in Westhoughton, Bolton, on Castle Hill Road, at the border with Wigan, at 5.30pm.
It will then travel down the A58 Cricketers Way and along Market Street, before going back on the A58 and in to Bolton via Wigan Road. The torch will then make its way down Deane Road, before entering Victoria Square via Howell Croft South.
The Olympic flame will leave Victoria Square via Le Mans Crescent, on to Deansgate, Spa Road and in to Spa Road playing fields, in Queen’s Park at 6.50pm for the free Olympic concert.
It will leave Bolton on June 1, just after 6am, from Victoria Square and then travel on to Chorley New Road, go down Scholes Bank in Horwich before arriving in Chorley at approximately 7.20am.