ROAD users are expecting seven months of traffic misery during work on a £5.3 million improvement plan on a stretch frequently used by commuters from Chester and Wrexham.
The large scheme, aiming to drastically improve traffic flow on the A483/A55 junction by the Posthouse roundabout on the outskirts of Chester is likely to create added congestion before the work is completed.
Motorists negotiating the stretch linking Chester – and particularly Chester Business Park – to Wrexham and North Wales often face traffic chaos at rush hour each day.
The multi-million pound project will start on Monday, September 15, aiming to tackle the congestion on the Posthouse roundabout by;
Widening of existing carriageway in key areas
Putting additional signals on A55/A483
New traffic signals on A483/Rough Hill
Conversion of Pulford roundabout into a signal junction
Reassignment of existing carriageways/lanes
Installation of new pedestrian/cyclist footbridge just west of the roundabout
When the work is completed drivers, cyclists and pedestrians should benefit from the improvements but there are fears of a repeat of the misery which greeted motorists earlier this month, when some preparatory work on the roundabout caused delays of up to three hours for motorists travelling northbound to Chester and Wrexham.
Since the chaos at the start of the month the Highway Agency has admitted their communication ahead of the gridlock was “simply not good enough” over the weekend of August 9-10.
City centre manager, Peter Lewis, said he was “concerned” about the short-term effect on the city.
He said: “We welcome the improvements, it will make life better in the future but it is making sure we do it with the least level of disruption which is important.
“I’m concerned about any routes which cause closures to routes into the city and reducing people’s access to Chester.
“I will be contacting the Highways Agency.
“I want to see how they are programming their work to make sure it is causing a minimum amount of disruption to the city.”
The £5.3million project, part of the Government’s £317million Pinch Point programme, is designed to support the nearby Chester Business Park and help generate investment which will potentially lead to more than 11,500 jobs and 1,700 homes in the area by 2020.
Work to remodel the roundabout will begin on Monday, September 15 and is due to be completed by the end of next March.
Alan Shepherd, the Highways Agency’s director for the North West, said: “This important project will make the junction safer for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists and improve journey times – helping to unlock the potential for new jobs and new homes on both sides of the border.”
As well as increasing capacity around, onto and along approaches to the roundabout, the scheme also involves installing a pedestrian and cyclist bridge at the roundabout for the first time – providing a safer link for the A483 across the roundabout.
Pulford Roundabout – along the A483 south of the junction with the A55 – will be removed as part of the work and replaced with traffic signals managing traffic along the A483 at the junction with the local B5445.
A second junction with this section of the A483, at Rough Hill, will also get traffic signals installed along with a new right turn facility from the southbound A483.
The first phase of the work involves nightly closures of the A483 south of the roundabout in both directions with clearly-signed diversions in place.
More information and regular updates are available from the project’s dedicated webpage at www.highways.gov.uk/roads/road-projects/A55A483-Improvements
A second, £130,000, pinch point project will also be delivered at the junction with CCTV cameras being installed to identify incidents and congestion at the roundabout more quickly and improve incident and traffic management there.
More information on the project is available at: www.highways.gov.uk/roads/road-projects/A55A483-CCTV
The pinch-point programme, devised with the input of councils and local enterprise partnerships, is designed to help stimulate new development and local economic growth by improving road safety and tackling congestion bottle necks.
In all, 28 projects, worth £66m, are being delivered across the North
Although both the A55 and A483 in England are operated by the Highways Agency, the A483 north of the roundabout is operated by Cheshire West and Chester Council which is backing the improvements.