Traffic easing scheme gets go ahead

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A major project to improve traffic flow on one of St Helens’ busiest roads has been given the green light.

Previously given the nod by Cabinet in November 2015, the Windle Island Junction Improvement Scheme was approved by the Liverpool City Region (LCR) Combined Authority following a successful business case submission to address key issues in St Helens, and to support economic growth in the wider City Region.

Costing £7,247,000 – over half of which will be funded by the Liverpool City Region Growth Fund and the rest from capital receipts, prudential borrowing and highways capital programme – the revised scheme will improve access to St Helens and the wider Liverpool City Region, while minimising delays, improve public safety, and support economic growth through improved access to key sites such as Haydock Industrial Estate and SuperPort.

Council leader Barrie Grunewald said: “As well as benefiting local people, improvements to Windle Island are essential for regional growth as they will help journey times to new developments like SuperPort, Mersey Gateway and the proposed Parkside development, all of which will create thousands of jobs.

“With a large number of developments planned, the Windle Island Junction Improvement Scheme will play a huge role in enabling these high profile developments to reach their full potential.”

Central to the improvements will be:

· A new four lane southbound approach to Windle Island Junction, providing a dedicated left turning lane to A580 eastbound towards Manchester and a dedicated right turning lane to A580 westbound towards Liverpool.

· The reintroduction of two lanes southbound through the junction, with the left hand lane for St Helens Town Centre via Rainford Road (including Tesco and Starbucks access), and the right hand lane for Eccleston and Prescot via Bleak Hill Road.

· A new left turn deceleration lane from A580 westbound onto A570 southbound to reduce queue lengths and improve safety.

· Two dedicated right turn lanes from the A580 westbound (towards Liverpool) onto the A570 northbound (towards Rainford). This will reduce queue lengths.

· A new 40 mph speed limit around the junction to improve safety.

Other improvements include the installation of a controlled crossing for pedestrians and cyclists - and the introduction of linked traffic signals at the junction of the A570 Rainford Bypass with the B5201 Crank Road to control movement of vehicles in and out of Crank Road.

If approved by full council, highway works will begin in autumn 2017, with the scheme expected to be completed by early 2019.G