Liverpool City Council has suspended all non-urgent highways works to support businesses and shoppers in the run up to the festive season.
With the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors gearing up for their busiest time of year – many firms make a third of their profits over the Christmas and New Year period – the city council has moved to minimise the number of roadworks to reduce the impact on deliveries and journeys.
The announcement follows the recent introduction of a new utilities scheme which requires water, gas, electricity and telecommunications firms, as well as building contractors, wanting to excavate roads and pavements to secure a permit before starting work.
Last year, there were 11,800 roadworks scheduled by utilities across the city, but contractors were only required to inform the council of the work that they were carrying out, giving the local authority limited powers to control activity.
The permit scheme and Christmas suspension is part of a wider strategy to ensure work is better co-ordinated, planned and managed, reducing disruption and delays for drivers and other road users, as the city council undertakes a £500m investment drive to improve Liverpool’s highways infrastructure under its Better Roads programme.
For this year’s Christmas period only four essential schemes to the city’s network will remain on site. They are:
• Waterloo Road and Regent Road / Great Howard Street (A565): For installation of underground utility and drainage works for the £7.6m waterfront link road to the new Isle of Man ferry terminal. Works include road widening, junction re-engineering and resurfacing as part of wider £32m package of works on North Liverpool corridor. Regent Road is scheduled to re-open on Thursday, 13 December. Overall scheme is to end in Autumn 2019.
• Parliament Street / junction of Grafton and Jamaica Street: New pedestrian crossing from Cains Brewery as part of Parliament Street upgrade, to support development of Baltic Triangle. £2.5m programme includes new dropped kerbs, signal improvements and road resurfacing. Lane restrictions and temporary traffic lights until Friday, 14 December. Works will restart here in the new year.
• Horrocks Avenue (B5171): £4m of highway improvement works have resulted in 5-way temporary signals and night-time (8pm-6am) road closures. The will be in effect until Sunday, 16 December
• Walton Hall Avenue (A580): £3.5m of highway improvement works between Queens Drive and Stopgate Lane includes lane restrictions and temporary signals in run up to East Lancs Road. This scheme, which is financed by the Department of Transport’s National Productivity Investment Fund, ends in early 2019.
Meanwhile the Churchill Way Flyovers, which connect Lime Street to Dale Street in the city centre, will remain closed whilst the city council awaits an initial report on a series of engineering surveys into the safety of the structure.
Councillor James Noakes, Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “Christmas is the busiest time for most businesses, their employees and customers and every year we try to minimise disruption on our highways to ensure the smooth running of deliveries and journeys at this critical period.
“It’s important the city council can support businesses in this way as well as all those making important drives to visit friends and families over the festive season.
“Of course, some works are too critical to our network to be stalled but every effort is being made on those to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum.
“A huge amount of money is being invested in our highways because we need to ensure the city’s infrastructure is fit for the future. When this festive suspension is lifted there will be a significant amount of activity on our roads that will shape this city’s growth for the next 25 years and this new utilities permit scheme will be of immense value to our highways engineers in planning these works.”
The Parliament Street and Horrocks Avenue schemes are part of a £200m boost to Liverpool City Council’s Better Roads programme, which is being invested over the next five years across three main elements:
• £160 million in road reconstruction
• £25 million in resurfacing and patching work
• £15 million specifically earmarked for addressing potholes
To assist residents, commuters and businesses an online map has been created which highlights current and planned road repairs over the next 12 months and can be found at: https://liverpool.gov.uk/roadimprovements
• Lime Street improvement works – Following a review of some design elements to this proposed scheme and the impact of the closure of the Churchill Way Flyovers, a follow up consultation day will be held at Central Library on Wednesday, 12 December. The Lime Street scheme is part of the £45m Liverpool City Centre Connectivity programme, the first phase of which will begin in January 2019.