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A city united: But drivers warned about Hereford's road plan
9:27am Thursday 19th December 2013 in News
This is the vision for Hereford city centre after works have been completed to create the "boulevard" style effect.
THIS is the vision to unite Hereford's new multi-million pound retail centre with the city's existing historic core.
But motorists are being warned they face three months of disruption to make it happen.
Work will begin in the new year to transform Newmarket Street into a tree-lined “boulevard” – aimed at improving pedestrian and cycle links between two contrasting parts of the city centre.
The work will be phased over a three-month period, with the first step to remove the current central reservation starting as early as January 2 or 3.
All of the changes to Newmarket Street are expected to be complete by the time the Old Market development opens in the spring.
Councillor Philip Price, cabinet member for infrastructure, said: “The integration between the historic city core and the new development at Old Market is enormously important and we must bear that in mind.
“Although the works may cause disruption, we urge Herefordians to consider the long-term gain of these improvements and we thank them for their continued support at this exciting time for the city and the wider county.”
Although much of the work will take place at night, there will be lane and pavement closures at various points throughout the works.
“The critical thing is to keep Hereford’s businesses going,” said Councillor Price.
“If there is to be a lane closure it’s for a very short time scale.
“We will be keeping a very close eye. We really want to get over the message that Hereford is still open for business throughout the works.”
A new junction called Widemarsh Gate will be created where Newmarket Street and Blueschool Street meet.
Drivers heading west along Blueschool Street will be allowed to turn right into Widemarsh Street as part of the changes.
Motorists leaving Wall Street will also be allowed to turn right to relieve pressure on the Edgar Street roundabout.
Other changes will see the speed limit reduced to 20mph on Newmarket Street and routes within the old city walls.
Coun Price added: “We felt it was essential to make the distinction to motorists that they are entering a city centre environment where it’s important to be aware of a higher number of pedestrians, cyclists and other road users.
"By reducing the speed limit we make the retail environment a safer and more pleasurable place for shoppers using the city centre and the new retail development."
Two lanes of traffic will be retained on each side of Newmarket Street to allow vehicles and pedestrians to use the route as freely as possible until wider traffic calming plans for the city centre have been completed.
George Ray, project manager for Sir Robert McAlpine, added: “These works are a very important part of the construction programme that is on track to deliver an exciting new retail and leisure development for Hereford city centre in the spring.
“We are very aware that this phase of work may cause disruption and would urge motorists to consider car sharing and other transport routes where possible, and to leave extra time for journeys in this part of the city.”
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