Wed, 31 Oct 2018
NEWBURY town centre will face nine months of disruption as a £1.8m overhaul of the town's strained road system will start in January.
In a bid to tackle congestion West Berkshire Council will be installing a new junction from the A339 into Cheap Street, along with modifying traffic flows in the town centre.
The council has announced that phase one of the project will begin on January 7, 2019, which will introduce traffic lights at the junction of the A339 and Cheap Street to allow traffic to turn right from the dual carriageway into Cheap Street.
There will be off peak lane closures and pedestrian diversions during phase one, which is scheduled for completion in March 2019.
Phase two will upgrade the Cheap Street junction with Market Street and result in the removal of the existing pedestrian crossings and the installation of new traffic lights and pedestrian crossings.
Traffic will no longer be allowed to turn south into Cheap Street and access to the railway station car park will be via the new A339/Cheap Street junction. Temporary traffic lights will be installed outside the Vue Cinema while the work is in progress.
Work on phase two is scheduled between March 2019 and May 2019.
The final phase will focus on upgrading the Sainsbury’s roundabout and traffic light system.
Traffic will no longer be allowed to turn off the roundabout into Bear Lane and will instead be sent to the new A339/Cheap Street junction.
There will be off peak lane closures during the works, which are scheduled between May and September 2019.
The £1.8m project is being funded by developer’s contributions from the Newbury Racecourse development and Local Transport Plan capital grant funding.
The council said that the works would create extra capacity on the busy town centre network. It added that it would take the opportunity to resurface the roads during these works.
West Berkshire’s Executive Member for highways and transport, Jeanette Clifford (Con, Northcroft) said: “This is a large but vital project. Our town centre roads are extremely busy and we must not only create more capacity, but keep them in good order, and we now have the finance in place to do this.
"However, it will take the best part of next year to complete. The works are phased and resurfacing will take place at night to minimise disruption. We ask that motorists bear with us during the works which, ultimately, will prove great long term benefits for the town.”
Original plans included restricting parking along Cheap Street to accommodate the increase in traffic travelling along the road.
But after a public consultation - and following concerns from traders about the impact the plans would have on their businesses - the council has amended its plans to make Cheap Street one way and retain parking on the southern section.