Shrewsbury town centre improvements progressing well
New routes allowing Shrewsbury residents to access the town’s bus station on foot or by bike are progressing well, thanks to improvement works at the Raven Meadow junction of Smithfield Road, as part of a joint initiative from Shropshire Council and Sustrans.
The works, which are on target for completion on Sunday 13 November 2011, are part of a wider project in the town connecting communities to the west and north of the town centre, providing safe and direct walking and cycling routes linking to schools, workplaces, shops and the railway and bus stations.
Councillor Simon Jones, Shropshire Council cabinet member for transport, said:
“Smithfield Road is a major traffic through-route in Shrewsbury, so the project was carefully planned to ensure there would be minimal disruption to traffic during the day. Any lane closures on Smithfield Road are currently taking place at night, and we have placed strict conditions on the contractors to minimise any inconvenience to the public as much as possible. Their staff are working hard to ensure that local residents and traders are well informed throughout the work.”
Contractor Alun Griffiths and supervising engineer Mouchel are working to complete the project on time in advance of the run-up to Christmas. Both a day and night shift is currently being worked at the site to ensure target completion date is met, with extra night work taking place to minimise disruption during the day.
The scheme is part of a national project from Sustrans, creating new routes in communities across the UK allowing people to make more of their everyday journeys on foot or by bike. The project received £50 million from the Big Lottery Fund in 2007, with part of that grant making its way to Shrewsbury, alongside funding from Shropshire Council.
Shropshire Councillor for Quarry and Coton Hill, Andrew Bannerman, added:
“This is an important project for the town, as the current junction layout can be difficult to negotiate by foot and by bike. We want to see more people choose to walk and cycle along Smithfield Road in the future, and these improvements are essential in order to achieve this. I would also like to add that the council and contractors appreciate the way that local residents and businesses, particularly Shrewsbury Boxing Club, have tolerated the temporary disruption around their premises.”
Sustrans’ West Midlands area manager, Henry Harbord, said:
“It’s great to see this project coming to fruition; when complete it is going to make a real difference to how people make their everyday journeys in Shrewsbury.”
The project has also received funding thanks to the council’s successful bid to the Government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund and a DfT grant to Sustrans.
The focus of the scheme in Shrewsbury is a riverside promenade along Smithfield Road and a pedestrian/cycle crossing at Welsh Bridge, linking the traffic-free route through The Quarry to the bus and railway stations.