Starting from 16 November for approximately 12 months, there will be a clockwise one-way route for most of the inner ring road in order to allow for essential infrastructure works to install a new city centre drainage tunnel through Chester.
The new rainwater drainage tunnel will be a significant investment in Chester’s future and is a necessary requirement ahead of major regeneration schemes and vastly improved city centre facilities, including the first phase of the Northgate development, currently underway.
These schemes will build on the success of Storyhouse and boost Chester’s position as a leading retail, business and tourism destination.
The tunnel will run from Princess Street south along St. Martin’s Way, Nicholas Street, Grosvenor Road and Castle Drive, and will end with a new outfall into the River Dee; it will be almost 1km in length, 1.2m in diameter and require access shafts 5.5m wide and 7m deep.
Over 85 per cent of the new drain will be installed via tunnelling rather than an open cut to minimise disruption above ground but will require nine access shafts along the route for the tunnelling equipment to operate from.
The new drain will also result in significant future proof environmental protections and benefits, including reducing instances of flooding and drain bursts in the city centre; reducing the volume of water requiring sewage treatment and in turn, reduce the energy used as a result; plus reducing the number of untreated sewage discharges into the river due to heavy rainfall when the current network is already at capacity.
After careful planning and consultation, including with the emergency services and bus operators; the Council’s highways team concluded the most efficient and practical solution would be to make the inner ring road primarily a two-lane clockwise route to ensure traffic can be kept moving. This will create:
- Northbound only route up Nicholas Street and St. Martins Way from the Grosvenor Roundabout to the Fountains Roundabout
- Southwest bound only from The Bars past the Amphitheatre, along Vicar’s Lane, Pepper Street and Grosvenor Street.
However, St. Oswald’s Way between Fountains Roundabout and The Bars will remain in two-way operation as normal.
Councillor Karen Shore, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport said: “The Clockwise plan has been carefully designed to be more easily understood by keeping most parts of the inner ring road a two-lane and one-way route.
“Please bear with us, we believe any short-term disruption will be worth it in the long run and enable major new and improved city centre facilities, nevertheless, Chester will still be open for business, we want to ensure the city centre can thrive.
“In line with the current Covid-19 guidance please avoid unnecessary journeys, use public transport instead, or why not cycle or walk and help reduce the number of cars entering the city centre.”
For homes and businesses within or near to the inner ring road, dedicated access-only routes will be provided, and all city centre car parks will remain open although the Market car park will only be accessible from the northbound St Martin’s Way via the existing undercroft.
More information on the clockwise plan is available at: www.clockwisechester.com
In addition, new experimental active travel lanes for cyclists and buses start today, 5 October, on the A5116 Liverpool Road and A51 Boughton for travel to and from Chester.
As the number of COVID-19 cases is rising in west Cheshire, the provision of dedicated facilities to encourage journeys being made by cycling and walking are even more important. More physical activity also provides longer-term benefits to the NHS.