Work starts on scheme to cut Preston city centre queues

Monday, October 16, 2017

Work has begun this week (Monday 16 October) to make changes to roads in Preston city centre to help relieve congestion.

The experimental changes involve making Lune Street two-way and creating a junction from Lune Street onto Ring Way to provide an alternative route for traffic leaving the city centre car parks, with the aim of reducing the volume of traffic travelling through the Avenham area. The changes will be monitored and a decision made next year on whether to make them permanent.

The plans were agreed by Lancashire County Council's cabinet in September as part of a package of measures to improve the city centre for shoppers and businesses by easing traffic flow, including the reintroduction of camera enforcement of the bus lanes on Fishergate.

Bus lanes were introduced on Fishergate in October 2016 to manage traffic congestion which occurred in the lead up to, and during, the festive period of 2016/17, resulting in higher volumes of traffic through Avenham. The new measures for Lune Street are designed to reduce this impact, particularly by providing an alternative route for cars exiting onto Lune Street from the St George's shopping centre car park.

The new arrangement will allow two way movement on Lune Street from its junction with Fleet Street. A one-way link road will be created from Lune Street onto Ring Way with a new junction near the Bar 1842 pub, formerly known as the Corn Exchange. Part of the wall and planter near the pub will be removed to make way for the new road, however the work will not affect the Lune Street statues or a mature tree nearby. The existing disabled parking bays on Lune Street will be relocated to Fox Street, and a limited-waiting bay and goods vehicle loading bay introduced on Fleet Street.

The work is expected to take two weeks.

County Councillor Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "These changes are intended to reduce traffic congestion in Preston city centre, particularly as we will soon reintroduce enforcement of the bus lanes on Fishergate in the very busy run up to Christmas.

"The introduction of the bus lanes on Fishergate particularly affected shoppers using the St Georges Centre car park and resulted in more traffic through the Avenham area, and these changes to Lune Street are intended to relieve congestion by creating access to alternative routes out of the city centre via Ring Way.

"We are confident that these changes to Lune Street will help, but it is not possible to predict their full impact with any certainty. We are therefore using an experimental traffic regulation order to introduce them, which allows us to easily change the design again if we need to. We're also using low cost methods of construction to create the new link to Ring Way, which means we can do it quickly and make further changes if necessary while keeping costs down.

"Our intention has always been to improve the quality of Lune Street so that it marries with the Fishergate Scheme, and if these changes are effective we will look to make them permanent, with an appropriate design using high quality materials.

"The Fishergate scheme has really transformed the city centre, and we hope these changes to manage traffic will be another positive step towards making Preston a better place to visit, shop, and do business."

The work is expected to be completed by Monday 30 October. Access to the car park for Preston Mobility Centre will be affected for a short time while work is ongoing, with access from Lune Street expected to close for a five-day period at some point from Thursday 19 October. Exactly when the closure will begin will depend on how quickly work progresses this week. During the closure period, access to the car park will be via Friargate with a signed diversion in place. During the diversion, the gates, which are usually closed to prevent access to Friargate from Fishergate and Cheapside, will be open to allow access via Fishergate.

The result of the changes to Lune Street will be monitored, with a report due to be presented to the county council's cabinet during summer 2018.

Tagged as: Roads, Parking and Travel

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