Viaduct works move to next phase

The next stage of works on Exeter Street viaduct will begin next week.

Contractor South West Highways closed the inbound side of the viaduct for water-proofing works in May and despite bad weather are on schedule to finish this section on time.

That means that from late on Friday 5 July, the inbound side of the viaduct will reopen so that on Monday 8 July, the outbound side can closed for the next phase of the works.

The works are part of ensuring that as the city centre expands and exciting developments like Drake Leisure and The Box near completion, the city’s road network can cope with all the extra traffic.

So what’s actually happening and when?

During this phase of the project, teams will work on the Charles Cross end of the viaduct for four weeks before switching their attentions to the St Andrews Cross end for the third and final phase.

This is so that access can be maintained to the Drake Circus delivery entrance and also the rear of the buildings along the northern side of the viaduct.

South West Highways Ltd, who have been appointed by the Council, will remove the existing surface of carriageways, waterproof it and then resurface. Pavements will be repaved with granite slabs and existing bollards will be upgraded in order to match the improvements made by McLaren Group, who are building the Drake Leisure development.

It is hoped that the works will be entirely completed by 15 September.

Drivers wanting to access the city centre from St Andrews Cross roundabout are being advised to follow the below diversion.

The diversion for traffic, other than buses and emergency vehicles, will be via St Andrews Cross roundabout, Royal Parade, Derry’s Cross roundabout, Union Street, The Crescent, Western Approach, North Cross roundabout, Cobourg Street and Charles Street.

What about buses?

We have continued working with the bus companies during the first phase of the works.

While works were ongoing on the inbound carriageway of the viaduct, Bretonside was open for buses and emergency vehicles and access only in an inbound direction.

For the second phase, it will switch to be open for buses and emergency vehicles in outbound direction only.

Changes will be made at the junction of Bretonside and Exeter Street to allow buses to turn left so that they can head back towards Charles Cross and pick up their usual routes.

As a result, the pedestrian crossing will be disabled and a temporary crossing installed close to Charles Cross. This is both for the safety of pedestrians and also so that the phasing of the lights does not cause unnecessary delays.

Check out the below fly-through for more information.

What about Charles Cross?

The good news is that a number of the most disruptive parts of the nearby Charles Cross Transport Improvement Scheme have been completed.

The right-turn out of Drake Circus has reopened and twos lane of traffic have been restored at the Exeter Street junction with the roundabout during peak hours.

However there is still likely to be some delays as works on Charles Street including the suspension of the bus lane on Charles Street outside of Primark. This is so that new bus stops can be constructed.

What can I do to avoid the delays?

Although we anticipate this new closure to be less painful than the last, while this work is ongoing, we’re asking everyone to think about how and when we access the city centre.

Could you use public transport? Car share? Ride a bike? Arrive a little earlier or go home a little later? As part of the work we have done on Charles Cross, we have already put a handy guide together.

We just ask that you bear with us. There’s no easy answer to planning major road improvements but we think we’re doing it the best way that we can.