Works will begin on the Charles Cross Transport Improvement Scheme from Monday.
The long awaited scheme will begin with the setup of the site offices on Hampton Street before main works on the roundabout start later in the week.
Charles Cross roundabout is one of the city’s busiest junctions and is on the route for the majority of the city’s buses.
The completed scheme will reduce delays by creating more space on the roundabout for all vehicles whilst making crossings friendlier for pedestrians and cyclists.
Works are expected to have finished by winter 2019.
Councillor Mark Coker, Cabinet member for Strategic Infrastructure, said: “Work beginning at Charles Cross marks a major milestone for us.
“This scheme has not been drawn up overnight. It has been years in the planning. As it is, Charles Cross is not fit for purpose. It has to improve to allow for the economic growth of Plymouth and with various exciting developments due for delivery all over the city centre, it must be done now.”
A proportion of the funding for this scheme comes the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Fund.
Minister for Local Growth, Jake Berry, said: “The Government is committed to boosting economic growth across the whole of the UK and building a Britain fit for the future.
“We are backing improvements to this key part of Plymouth’s infrastructure with £2.1m from the Local Growth Fund which, when they are completed, will make journeys quicker and easier for local people and visitors.”
Chair of the Heart of the South West LEP, Steve Hindley, CBE DL said: “The Charles Cross Transport Improvement Scheme is part of the LEP’s portfolio of projects partly funded by the Growth Deal, which aim to raise productivity and prosperity throughout Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay.
“The works will ease congestion and improve access for buses, cyclists and pedestrians, therefore enabling the increased development in Plymouth for housing and employment space. We are pleased to have allocated £2.1m towards this important scheme and look forward to seeing it progress on site.”
The first steps
Initial works will involve setting up the site offices. This will be on Hampton Street, outside of Charles Cross police station, and will mean that Hampton Street will only be open northbound for the entirety of the works. Access from Constantine Street onto Hampton Street will also be closed. Diversion routes will be clearly indicated.
Then from Wednesday 13 February, the taxi rank on the southbound side of Charles Street will be closed for the duration of the scheme to allow for the building of a new lane onto the roundabout.
The bus stop on Charles Street southbound will be temporarily removed until mid-April when it will be relocated slightly north of its current location. An off-peak lane closure, between 9.30am and 3.30pm will also be needed to accommodate this part of the scheme.
The bus lane that leads from Exeter Street onto the roundabout will also be closed from Thursday 7 February.
We’ll be giving residents constant updates on the rest of the traffic management plans through social media, through the dedicated Charles Cross webpage and also through the press.
Contractors Balfour Beatty will be working 12 hour days, six days a week, to reduce the overall time spent on the project.
As is the nature of all road scheme, delays are likely at some point during construction.
As the project goes on, traffic management will be reviewed daily to ensure that we’re not creating any more problems than is strictly necessary. The safety of the workforce, road users and pedestrians will be the driving decision maker.
Over the last few weeks, the Council have run a campaign online, in local newspapers and on the radio, encouraging people to plan their journeys and think about alternative methods of getting into the city centre.
A final public exhibition on the scheme is being held at the Jury’s Inn on Saturday 2 February. Staff from contractors Balfour Beatty and Plymouth City Council will be available to take all of your questions and talk you through the different stages of construction whilst guiding you on alternative ways of travel during the scheme.
More information on the scheme is available here – www.plymouth.gov.uk/charlescross