Work set to start on new road layout

Central Drive, between New Bonny Street and Reads Avenue, Blackpool,where there are plans to introduce a contra-flow bus lane.
Central Drive, between New Bonny Street and Reads Avenue, Blackpool,where there are plans to introduce a contra-flow bus lane.
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Work will start later this year to make part of Central Drive a two-way street for buses.

The bus and taxi contraflow scheme has been given approval by councillors following a consultation – and work is set to start once the Illuminations have finished in November.

When it is finished, it will allow buses, hackney carriages and cyclists to travel in both directions along the main road, which is currently a one-way street.

Council bosses have said a detailed traffic management plan is being prepared in a bid to minimise disruption while building works are taking place, and at lease one lane will remain open on Central Drive into the town centre whenever possible, especially in the run up to Christmas.

The road is expected to be complete before the start of the season next year.

Coun John Jones, Blackpool Council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Works are currently due to start on November 11, however, a full programme is still being finalised.

“Traffic flow will be maintained during the works but reduced to one lane. We will publish further information when a full programme of works is confirmed.

“If residents or businesses have any queries I am happy for them to contact me and I will do my best to help.”

The £300,000 contraflow is being funded by the Department of Transport as part of the council’s successful Better Bus Area bid to save time on bus journeys.

But people living and working in the area believe it is a lot of work for shorter bus journeys.

Charlie Docherty, chairman of the Central Holiday Area PACT, said: “This is a lot of upheaval.

“The plans do look great on the computer simulation when there is no congestion, but that’s not always the case.

“We can see the benefits of the scheme, but there are some tweaks we have discussed with the council.

“They have listened to us, and we’re hopeful they will come back to us and keep us updated.

“We’re still not 100 per cent convinced of the practicalities of this scheme.”

Mr Docherty, of The Astoria Hotel, on Hull Road, said the public could only wait and see what disruption the roadworks would cause. But he said he had been impressed with, so far, little disruption caused by the Talbot Gateway development.

He added: “The feedback from Talbot has been very good. We can only hope for the same on Central Drive.

The contraflow bus lane would follow Central Drive between New Bonny Street and Reads Avenue, and would allow its users to avoid the one-way system on Albert Road, Coronation Street and Reads Avenue to drive south down Central Drive.

The move would shave three minutes off each bus journey. It would also mean the replacement of traffic signals on the junction of Central Drive with Bank Hey Street and Albert Road, and the modification of the signals at Chapel Street and Reads Avenue.

Central Drive northbound from Reads Avenue will be reduced to one lane. The bus stop currently on Coronation Street would be moved on to Central Drive, and the council has pledged to re-route alternate services onto the street.