City centre roadworks could get a whole lot Worse
WARNING OVER POTENTIAL DISRUPTION NEXT YEAR
MANCHESTER city centre is to be surrounded by a whole NEW series of major roadworks next year – prompting warnings that the current disruption will feel like a ‘walk in the park’ in comparison.
The council hopes to kick off a multi-million pound series of road upgrades to the south and east of the city centre, as well as at its heart, on Great Ancoats Street.
A £4m scheme on Hyde Road will see work to widened the route at its ‘pinch point’ near Reddish Lane, while an £8m upgrade will redesign the interchange where Princess Parkway meets the edge of the city centre.
The bulk of a £8.5m project to improve Great Ancoats Street will also kick off next financial year, aimed at making pedestrian links to the city centre better and safer.
At the same time, however, major works on Regent Road which are already causing motorists huge delays – are also scheduled to carry on well into next year.
While the plans are aimed at ultimately easing traffic flow in and out of the city centre, that timetable has sparked concern. At this week’s meeting of the council’s neighbourhoods committee, which scrutinises issues including highways work, Miles Platting and Newton Heath councillor John Flanagan warned that he had marked off at least four major schemes taking place at the same time next year.
While not all of them would be running along the exact same timescale, the effects would still be severe, he warned.
“The biggest cause of congestion is all the works – and it’s all next year,” he said.
“Three or four major schemes are going to happen next year where they’ll make Regent Road look like a walk in the park.”
He added that to the west of the city centre, Chester Road is also taking more traffic due to knockon effects of the Metrolink’s ongoing extension to Trafford Park.
Manchester town hall’s capital programme for the next few years suggests the bulk of both the Great Ancoats Street and Hyde Road schemes will take place in 2019/20, as well as the final few months of the Regent Road scheme that is already causing major delays. The Princess Parkway scheme is expected, according to the budget, to stretch from 2019 well into 2021. In response to Coun Flanagan’s concerns, the council’s operational director of highways, Steve Robinson, said he had raised a ‘really important point,’ one with which he agreed. The town hall was talking to Transport for Greater Manchester about trying to schedule the roadworks in a sensible way, he said. “We recognise that there’s a significant amount of work next year and that’s why we’ve already been to have discussions with TfGM about them doing specific modelling, so that we can identify what schemes we should move back,” he said. The council was hoping to ‘manipulate’ the programme in order to ‘minimise’ disruption, he added.
Roadworks on the Mancunian Way