In early 2014, a programme of improvement works to Widemarsh Gate and Newmarket Street will be undertaken as part of the delivery of Old Market. The works form a critical part of the consented retail and leisure development, which is now in an advanced stage of construction ahead of opening in Spring 2014, and which will bring about significant improvements to the street.
Starting in January, and lasting for approximately three months, the street works will deliver vastly improved connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists travelling between the historic city core and the new development. The programme will also improve road conditions; significantly upgrade the crossings, pavements and central reservation area and make Newmarket Street a more attractive part of the city centre.
The key improvements will be as follows:
- At Widemarsh Gate - the junction of Newmarket Street and Widemarsh Street - the existing staggered pedestrian crossing will be replaced. In its place will be a pavement-level, “straight over” crossing with signal controls, allowing for better linkage between the development and Widemarsh Street, High Town and the wider city centre. Another new pedestrian crossing will also be installed near the Edgar Street roundabout. This second crossing replaces the dated underpass, which was highlighted as a key area for improvement by many local people during consultation before the Old Market planning application was submitted.
- Newmarket Street will be resurfaced and the troughed central reservation will be replaced with carefully designed landscaping including trees and cycle parking, creating a boulevard-style look.
- A new right turn will be introduced at Widemarsh Gate allowing motorists approaching the junction from Blue School Street to turn directly onto Widemarsh Street. Additionally a new right turn will be introduced at the Wall Street exit from Tesco’s car park, relieving pressure on the Edgar Street roundabout.
- Speed control measures will be introduced along Newmarket Street including a new 20mph speed limit and “speed tables” to make it more pedestrian friendly and to improve traffic flows. Newmarket Street will retain two lanes of traffic on each side to allow vehicles and pedestrians to use this major route as freely as possible until wider traffic calming plans for the city centre have been completed.
The works programme has been carefully designed to minimise disruption to motorists, residents and local businesses. Much of the work will take place at night in order to keep disruption for road users to a minimum. There will, however, be some necessary lane closures during the day. These daytime works will not require closure of either carriageway or pavement in its entirety. We do anticipate that journeys will take longer during the works period and recommend that drivers leave extra time for their journeys and consider car sharing, public transport or cycling where possible.
Local residents and businesses are being offered leaflets and letters explaining the situation and the Emergency Services and public transport providers have been involved in discussions about this programme for some weeks.
George Ray, Project Manager for Sir Robert McAlpine
“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.”
Councillor P Price, Cabinet Member Infrastructure, added:
“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.”
Further information and updates will be available from a dedicated page of Herefordshire Council’s website at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/widemarshgate.