A key route in and out of the city centre will soon reopen, following the completion of a major highways scheme.
The revamped Bucknall New Road will be open for the first time to traffic from Monday, September 27 with a raft of improvements that will benefit drivers, bus users, cyclists, pedestrians and the environment.
The £4.3 million scheme, which has been funded in the main by Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, has been designed to cut journey times and congestion, improve air quality and promote sustainable travel. The road carries approximately one third of all bus movements into and out of the city centre and it is hoped the scheme will encourage greater use of public transport.
The improvements include:
- A significant extension of the existing short length three lane approach to the Potteries Way junction to reduce queuing;
- The widening the carriageway heading towards the city centre from one to two lanes from Eagle Street to improve its capacity;
- 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.
The scheme is part of a wider transport masterplan for the road network to the south of the city centre, to speed up journeys and support the economy. This includes the recently completed improvements to Joiners Square roundabout, work to the Leek Road/Boughey Road junction and an improvement to the junction of Leek Road and Station Road.
Cllr Daniel Jellyman, cabinet member for infrastructure, regeneration and heritage, said: “Firstly, I’d like to say thank you to the residents and businesses on the road, as well as all road users, for their patience while we completed these much-needed improvements. It’s been a challenging project with some unforeseen problems with diverting gas, water and media cables, as well as the difficulties posed by the pandemic. The contractor has mostly worked seven day weeks, up to 12 hours a day, for the last eight months to try and reduce the timescale of the work as much as possible.
“Traffic levels on the road have increased over the years as the city has got busier, to the point where they were having a negative impact on journeys and the economy. This is one of the key routes in and out of the city centre and having the right transport infrastructure in place is absolutely vital to the success of our economy if we want to continue to grow and expand in the way we have been doing.
“Alongside the recently completed improvements at Joiners Square roundabout, we’ve now tackled the long-standing issue of congestion at two pinch-points in the city. Disruption is inevitable during an improvement scheme of this size, but the new road layout will deliver real improvements for motorists, bus passengers, cyclists and pedestrians for years to come. The road network drives local economic activity, supports new housing and business developments, and encourages trade and investment, so it’s vital that we invest now to secure a successful and sustainable future for the city.”
Alun Rogers, chair of Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “I’m delighted that residents, businesses and visitors will soon be able to feel the impact of this major scheme and pleased the LEP has been able to fund majority fund this.
Congestion isn’t just frustrating, it also restricts growth and productivity, so the upgrades to the route are a welcome addition to the region.
We can expect to see enhanced road safety and 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.’’