Work is underway on £920,000 public realm improvements at Liverpool’s Salthouse Dock.
The major scheme, which will take four months to complete, will transform the footway area between Salthouse Quay and Gower Street, creating a much more attractive open space, increasing accessibility and safety for the public and maximising the area’s potential as an events space.
Work – which is being carried out in partnership with Gower Street Estates, who are responsible for the dock area – includes:
• The removal of the low acoustic wall (Wapping wall) that divides the footway of the Strand and the quayside of Salthouse Quay. This wall currently presents a barrier to access to the area, and detracts from its aesthetics. The wall will be carefully broken up on site and removed to a recycling depot, improving the vista and allowing a greater number of pedestrians to safely access the site.
• The reconstruction of the existing footway. The footway is currently a combination of cobbles and setts, which are uncomfortable to walk on and can prove particularly difficult for wheelchair and pushchair users. The new surface will be a smooth paved finish, which will be far more accessible to pedestrians.
• The removal of trees and replacement with a reduced number of a more appropriate species. The existing sycamore trees drop sap on the paved areas and cause issues for pedestrians. They have also not weathered well, due to intolerance to the high salt atmosphere on the waterfront. They will be replaced by Salix Alba ‘Liempde’ trees, which are conical and upright in shape, and are much more tolerant of salt laden wind and wet atmosphere. The new trees are being planted using methods and systems which ensure that they do not cause root damage to the footway, which had been a problem with the sycamores.
Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Climate Change, Councillor Tim Moore, said: “Salthouse Dock is an important area on our waterfront which has needed investment for a number of years – so I’m delighted that this work is now underway.
“This scheme will make a real difference to the area, creating a more attractive, vibrant and welcoming space. It will create a better pathway for the public, enabling easier access to the Albert Dock. And it will improve the flow and safety of the thousands of people who visit Arena and Convention Centre Liverpool.
“We continue to invest in our waterfront, and these improvements are the latest example of the good work we are doing as part of our strategy to drive forward the sustainable development of Liverpool south docks.”
As part of the scheme, the council is also exploring the possibility of erecting kiosks in the area in the future, making it a more attractive location for tourists and workers and generating long-term revenue benefits for the city.
The public realm works will also support the future development of this area of the waterfront, including the new Exhibition Centre Liverpool, which is due to be completed in 2015.
The works are being carried out in two phases:
• Phase one will include works at the southern end adjacent to the large Wapping gable wall. This area will be cleared and made safe prior to Christmas.
• Phase two will commence early in the New Year. Hoardings will be erected around the area which is undergoing improvements, to work as a sight and sound barrier and to allow works to continue with no inconvenience to the public.
The works have been designed to keep disruption to a minimum. One lane of the Strand is being temporarily closed for the first phase. However, it is anticipated that there will be no affect upon the bus network.
There will be clearly signed pedestrian routes that will be lined with safety barriers manned around the clock by a specialist traffic management company. The existing Strand crossing point will remain open at all times.
The heritage fencing that runs along the dock wall will be fenced off, allowing access only for Canal and River Trust operatives and members. The site will be fenced off at all times, and the area will continue to be lit during the hours of darkness.
Traffic management will be maintained at all times, with 24 hour call-out provision.
It is anticipated that the works will be completed by 31 March 2014 – in advance of the International Festival for Business – with only tree maintenance (watering) taking place after this time.
The works are being funded through the Council’s Capital Programme.