Lancashire County Council has unveiled the final designs for a major scheme to regenerate the Friargate and Ringway areas, as well as details of when work will take place.
The scheme will make the area more attractive, improve connections between parts of the city centre for a better leisure and shopping experience, and improve facilities for sustainable travel.
As part of its successful Transforming Cities Fund bid, Lancashire County Council has been awarded £14.7m to regenerate the Friargate North and Ringway area in line with other modern cities.
Following a public engagement exercise in the spring, the council’s planning team have been finalising designs for the Transforming Friargate North and Ringway scheme and putting together a construction programme. The construction of the works will start in mid-November 2021 on Corporation Street and is planned to be complete by spring 2023.
County Councillor Charlie Edwards, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “This is essential work to allow for the improvements to take place, making the city centre a far more attractive place to be. Although these works will cause disruption to traffic through the city centre, please bear with us and we can look forward to the long-term benefits of reconnecting both sides of Preston city centre for a better leisure and shopping experience and improved facilities for sustainable travel.
“We need to start these very substantial works at this time to ensure all the city centre improvement works are completed within the funding deadline of Spring 2023. I realise that carrying out roadworks on the approach to Christmas is not ideal.
“Access to all car parks will be maintained throughout the works to allow shoppers to get into the city. Clearly marked diversion routes will guide traffic when necessary and we will keep our webpage and social media updated with what works are on the road, so that people know how to get to where they need to go as easily as possible.”
As with any construction project, timetables may be subject to change if unforeseen issues are found. The council will provide regular updates as work progresses.
Phase 1 – Corporation Street
The work will start on Corporation Street and there will be full and part road closures until the New Year so that all of the bus services can be moved to Corporation St from Friargate, allowing Friargate to be pedestrianised.
From the middle of November Corporation Street will need to be closed between Marsh Lane and Heatley Street for around three weeks to allow the construction of new bus stops with raised boarding platforms for easy access, and also to allow us to resurface the road.
After the initial closure Corporation Street will be reopened with narrowed carriageways and temporary traffic signals between Heatley Street and Ringway. These measures will continue until the New Year, when Heatley Street will need to close again to safely improve and surface the footways and carriageway on this very narrow road. This closure will again last for about three weeks.
Phase 2 – Ringway
In early 2022 work will start on moving the central reservation on Ringway southwards to make room for a new two-way cycle path on the north side of the carriageway. These works will continue until Spring 2023 and will involve closing the outer lane of Ringway in each direction to allow the works to take place safely.
Phase 3 – Friargate
In Spring 2022 work will also start to bring about the pedestrianisation of Friargate North. Between Ringway and Marsh Lane, Friargate will be permanently closed to traffic, and the bus services currently running on Friargate will be moved to Corporation Street. High-quality paving, trees, street furniture such as benches, and the central service routes/cycleways will be installed at this time.
The work will be carried out in sections and access for pedestrians and for deliveries to the businesses will be maintained throughout the construction phase. A dedicated business liaison officer will be working with the businesses to ensure that the impact to them will be minimised and any problems that arise are dealt with swiftly. Clearly marked pedestrian routes will help guide people through the area whilst the works are on site.
The county council has produced plans to help show people how to move into and through Preston once the Transforming Friargate North and Ringway scheme is in place.