Work is set to start on a major highways scheme to upgrade a key route in and out of Stoke-on-Trent city centre – in a project that will improve journey times and reduce congestion.
The £4.3 million scheme, which is being funded in the main by Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, will see a raft of improvements to Bucknall New Road, that will also enhance road safety and air quality, and provide better facilities for pedestrians and cyclists.
The work will begin on Monday, February 15 and will focus on a 500-metre section from the junctions with Potteries Way and Homer Street. The improvements are expected to run until late June and will see:
- A significant extension of the existing short length three lane approach to the Potteries Way junction;
- The widening the carriageway heading towards the city centre from one to two lanes from Eagle Street;
- The introduction of a three metre wide footway/cycleway on both sides of Bucknall New Road, to encourage walking and cycling to and from the city centre;
- The introduction of additional right turning lanes into side streets to reduce delays and to improve road safety;
- Improved traffic signal operation at the junction with Potteries Way to reduce congestion and delays to motorists;
- A signal controlled crossing moved closer to Hanley St Luke’s C of E Aided Primary School, to improve the safety of pedestrians, particularly children, crossing to the school;
- The introduction of a pedestrian crossing island between Wellington Road and Eagle Street, to assist pedestrians crossing the widened road.
From midnight on Sunday, February 14 to 5am on Thursday, February 18 there will be a full road closure of Bucknall New Road, between Potteries Way and Wellington Road. This is needed for the safe removal of two traffic islands, traffic signals and to allow associated utility diversions to be carried out. In order to carry out the main roadworks safely, a one-way system will be in place for the duration of the project, in the direction from Potteries Way down to the Lime Kiln junction. Diversions will be in place for vehicles heading in the opposite direction and access will be maintained for local residents and businesses.
Cllr Daniel Jellyman, cabinet member for infrastructure, regeneration and heritage, said: “This is a major route in and out of the city centre and anyone who has travelled on it at peak hours will know how busy it can get. One of our key priorities is to drive economic prosperity for the city and having the right transport infrastructure in place is absolutely vital to this.
“Traffic levels on the road have gradually increased over the years to the point where they are now having a detrimental impact on journeys and the economy, and we must carry out this work now to secure a sustainable and successful future for Stoke-on-Trent. This infrastructure investment will increase connectivity and boost the economy as we power up the city to come out of the coronavirus pandemic in a strong position.
“As a motorist and resident of the city myself I fully understand how frustrating it can be to be stuck in traffic. This is one of the biggest road improvement schemes to be carried out in the city in recent years, and it is inevitable there will be some short-term disruption while work on this scale is carried out. It’s a significant investment of more than £4 million into the city and the long-term result will be reduced congestion, improved safety and better infrastructure for years to come, so please bear with us while we carry out these essential upgrades.”
Alun Rogers, chair of Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “We know that congestion in our towns and cities restricts growth and productivity, so I’m pleased the LEP has been able to fund this major road scheme. The upgrades to this route will be a welcome addition to the region, enhancing road safety and providing better facilities for communities and businesses travelling by car, bike or on foot.
“It is vital to the LEP and our partners that major projects like this have been able to continue through the pandemic, helping to develop the city as a more attractive place to live, work and invest. We look forward to the scheme getting under way.”
During the work, traffic and buses which would normally enter the city centre via Bucknall New Road will instead use Keelings Road and Town Road, and a temporary bus stop will be installed near the bottom of Keelings Road, outside the church, for anyone catching a bus to the city centre.
The existing bus stops on Bucknall New Road towards the city centre, opposite Somerset Road, near Wellington Road, and outside the flats before the Potteries Way junction will be taken out of use for the duration of the works. Buses leaving the city centre will still use Bucknall New Road, but after crossing Potteries Way the first bus stop will be at Somerset Road, with the stop near St Ann Street closed while the works take place.