New roadworks on major Plymouth road at Laira Bridge to start next month
BUSINESSES are hoping new improvements at the junction of a major route will not cause the same disruption as past works.
The firms at Faraday Mill in Cattedown claim to have suffered greatly during the last phase of the multi-million East End Transport Scheme, saying customers avoided the area due to the roadworks.
Plymouth City Council has now announced the second phase of improvements on the city's Eastern Corridor, starting on September 3, which will be carried out by Plymouth Transport and Highways.
It will include changes to the junction of Finnigan Road and Laira Bridge Road with the aim of improving traffic flow over Laira Bridge. The work also aims to provide better crossing facilities for pedestrians and cyclists.
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The council said the junction suffers from queuing traffic, particularly at peak times, there were no pedestrian signals and only narrow refuge islands.
To help reduce congestion and improve journey times for people travelling over Laira Bridge, the right hand turn from Laira Bridge Road into Finnigan Road will be removed which the council said would "significantly" reduce waiting time.
The work will also see new signal-controlled crossings to be installed across Finnigan Road and Laira Bridge Road, meaning pedestrians and cyclists can cross safely. Both crossings will link directly to the National Cycle Network route on Finnigan Road.
While access to the Faraday Mill industrial estate and other commercial areas in Cattedown will be maintained, traders say they hope they will not see the same effects to their business as the last phase of work.
Darren Wallace, of Plymouth Battery Centre Ltd, said: "The last set of works did cause us a lot of problems. On the months the road works happened we were down on previous years takings. We can't say for sure the roadworks were the cause, but people certainly got fed up with it. When we spoke to customers on the phone and we said, where we were based, it put them off a lot of the time.
"Hopefully the new works won't affect us too badly this time."
Rob Jones, managing director of Faraday Furnishings Ltd said the last phase of work saw a downturn in trade.
He said: "I just pray that it's not as bad as last time – but I don't think anything could be as bad as last time.
"Ironically, the road improvements, once you understand them, weren't that bad when they'd finished."
In an effort to reduce the disruption being drawn out programmed maintenance work on Laira Bridge will also be carried out at the same time.
This work, which aims to improve and prolong the life of the structure, includes re-waterproofing the bridge decking, replacing expansion joints, resurfacing the road and installing new lighting columns.
Councillor Mark Coker, cabinet member for transport said: "It's important that we improve traffic flow over and around Laira Bridge and reduce delays experienced by drivers.
"This is a vital artery into the city and we're committed to making improvements that help motorists get around. The work on the bridge has to be done now or its condition will deteriorate further, which will require even more repair work at greater expense. It makes sense to co-ordinate the junction improvements with the bridge maintenance so there is a single set of works and future disruption is kept to a minimum."