Motorists are being warned of traffic disruption affecting Leicester’s busy inner road as the new year begins, as preliminary road works get underway as part of two major redevelopment projects.
Work will start in early January at sites in both Great Central Street and on two sections of Vaughan Way, as the two separate schemes get underway.
The first scheme, by developer Charles Street Buildings, involves creating a new pedestrian and cycle ‘super-crossing’ at Vaughan Way, and a wider £50million development involving refurbishing and bringing back into commercial use the former Great Central Station, building two new hotels, 35,000 sq ft of new office space and a new public realm open area.
The initial stages of that work will involve closing a single, inside lane of the Vaughan Way slip road between Holy Bones and the junction of Great Central Street from Monday, January 8, to Wednesday, March 7, 2018, at off-peak times from 9.30am to 3.30pm, and overnight from 7pm to 6am.
The exit from the Southgates underpass will not be affected. Through-traffic will still be able to use Great Central Street, although the footway will be closed to pedestrians while utility works and other preparations are underway.
Great Central Street will eventually be closed to through-traffic, although access to local businesses and the new car park for the development will remain. The super-crossing works at Vaughan Way itself will begin later in spring 2018.
The scheme is being carried out by contractors Morgan Sindall, with the highways work being done by Danaher and Walsh.
Leicester City Council is contributing £2.4million towards highway work as part of its Connecting Leicester works, to improve connectivity between the city centre, the new developments and the city’s Waterside area.
Elsewhere, developers Sowden are due to begin work nearby on a separate £43million scheme to create a new apartment complex of nearly 300 rooms at the junction of Highcross Street and Vaughan Way.
This scheme is also likely to cause traffic disruption.
From Monday, January 8, to Friday, January 19 (excluding weekends), the footpath along Vaughan Way between Highcross Street and the John Lewis car park will be closed for water main, utilities and protection work related to that project.
Between January 22 and 26, the footpath along Highcross Street, between Vaughan Way and All Saints Church will be closed for protection work to be undertaken.
Then from January 15 onwards, the inside lane of Vaughan Way from Highcross Street to the John Lewis car park will be closed to traffic and pedestrians at night, between 7.30pm and 5.30am, to enable the building of a new entrance to the development. The night-time lane closures will take place for up to four weeks.
Leicester City Council’s director of city highways, Martin Fletcher, said: “The roadworks affecting Vaughan Way and Great Central Street are the beginning of some major development works in the area.
“This first phase of work will involve some single-lane closures outside of peak times in Vaughan Way, which will inevitably affect traffic, so we are asking people to consider using an alternative route where possible.
“The programme of works is being designed to complete the work in the shortest possible time, but traffic disruption is unavoidable.
“We are working closely with the contractors to keep traffic disruption from the off-peak lane closures, along with any noise from late-night working, to a minimum.
“We will also be working with nearby residents and businesses to keep them up to date with issues such as disruption and noise from the works.”
Signs advising motorists of the roadworks are due to be put in place early in the new year.
The whole programme of highway works, including the main super-crossing works in Vaughan Way, is due to take place over 35 weeks in total.
The off-road parts of the redevelopments at Great Central Street and Vaughan Way, which won’t affect traffic, will continue for another 50 weeks afterwards, finishing in August 2019.