The start of 2020 will see work begin on a sustainable transport scheme for Gillingham as part of a multi-million pound transport overhaul.
£3.45m of Local Growth Funding has been secured by Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (Dorset LEP) to provide a transport improvement package, Gillingham Growth, to support the town’s expansion.
The funding is being used to enhance key junctions through Gillingham, improve cycle links to the train station and will fund the design of the Enmore Green Link Road.
Jim Stewart, Dorset LEP Chair, says: ‘Introducing a cycle network in Gillingham will facilitate local growth sustainably, aligning Dorset Council’s new four-year plan and the infrastructure objectives outlined in Dorset LEP’s proposed Local Industrial Strategy. Dorset LEP has commenced and completed some fantastic projects using Local Growth Funding in 2019 which we will continue in 2020, funding Dorset projects that encourage economic growth, attract investment and increase productivity.’
Work starts on the sustainable transport element of the scheme on Monday 13 January 2020, to improve pedestrian and cycle facilities between Cemetery Road and Station Road.
This first phase of work will take around five months and includes installing crossing points on Cemetery Road, realigning kerbs on the northbound side of Le Neubourg Way to provide a new on-road cycle route, installing signals at the Waitrose junction and realigning some kerbing on the southbound side of Le Neubourg Way for on-road cycling.
In order to keep two-way traffic flow along the busy B3081 Le Neubourg Way, while at the same time providing a safe working zone, the right-turn lanes and hatched space in the middle of the road will be removed to narrow the road to two traffic lanes. This layout will be put in place over two nights during the first week of work.
Other preparatory works taking place during the first week includes vegetation clearance and removal of some traffic islands.
Councillor Ray Bryan, Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, said: ‘This scheme is a good start to a cycle network in Gillingham. With new housing developments planned in the town, it’s important to get the infrastructure ready for growth – both for vehicles and for sustainable transport.
‘Linking residential areas to the train station will give commuters more choice about their travel options and, as we’ve seen in other parts of the county, providing safer cycling routes really does encourage people to change their travel habits.
‘We’re doing our best to keep traffic flowing during the work but it is inevitable that journey times will be a bit longer, so please allow extra time for your journey wherever you can.’
Kerb realignment work will first focus on the northbound side of Le Neubourg Way, starting at Cemetery Road and working towards Waitrose junction.
Following the installation of signals at the Waitrose junction, work will move on to kerb realignment and associated works along the southbound side of Le Neubourg Way.
There may be times where temporary signals are needed but these will be used off-peak, between 9.30am and 3.30pm.
The final part of the sustainable transport element will be a small amount of work on Lower Station Road which will be completed later in the year when work is carried out on Higher Station Road.
Work is continuing to finalise an improved design for the Shaftesbury Road junction with Newbury (High Street), which will remain as a mini-roundabout following feedback from local residents.
Traffic Regulation Orders will be advertised in January for the proposed changes to parking and one-way flow of traffic on Higher Station Road and for a toucan crossing on Le Neubourg Way near the mini-roundabout.
Towards the end of 2020 the Shaftesbury Road junction with New Road will be improved to increase its capacity to help traffic flow, with the design currently being finalised.
Further information is available at www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/gillingham-growth-package