The Coton Arches scheme to relieve traffic congestion at the famous Coton Arches bridge is nearing completion with all traffic management in the area to be cleared by 21 December. The scheme has created a new road going through the centre of the roundabout diverting traffic travelling south and new pedestrian and cycling facilities.
A newly-created roundabout will be open throughout the Christmas period, alleviating some of the traffic problems which have beset the area for years. The ‘hamburger’ road through the roundabout is due to open early in January with the switching on of signalisation at the entry points to the island.
The work has been carried out to tackle the problem of the traffic at the roundabout. This has been struggling to cope with rush hour demand, with predicted increases in traffic flows resulting from new developments from the Local Plan set to exacerbate the issue.
Initially constructed in 1974 along with Chilvers Rise, and at the time that Bridge Street was disconnected from the A444, the increase in traffic over the years meant that it was in danger of becoming unfit for purpose with vehicles queuing on the circulating part of the roundabout blocking entry points.
The new signalising will mean that access to the roundabout is controlled and shared with multiple sets linked together. The signals have traffic control systems that can detect vehicles and adjust settings to respond to fluctuations keeping traffic moving quickly.
The road running through the centre of the roundabout island avoids the need for southbound traffic to travel around the roundabout, increasing the capacity for turning onto Avenue Road and Coventry Road.
Consultation before the start of the construction highlighted a need for pedestrian and cycling facilities. The comments were considered and changes made to the plans to ensure cyclists were fully considered, particularly in relation to the access to Bridge Street and Edward Street. Better links have also been established between the town centre, residential and business areas and the hospital.
The £3.7 milllion scheme, funded by Warwickshire County Council and the Government’s Local Growth Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), is the first stage of the Transforming Nuneaton project to be completed. Transforming Nuneaton, a partnership between the county and borough councils and the LEP, is set to create a town centre that is a great place to do business, socialise and live. Attractive entry points to the town centre are one critical part of that project.
Local Growth Minister Jake Berry MP said: “We’re committed to boosting economic growth across the Midlands Engine and the whole of the UK and building a Britain fit for the future.
“The £2 million investment from the Local Growth Fund will ensure improved journeys between the town centre, the hospital, residential and business areas of Nuneaton, whilst the focus on enhancing the experience for cyclists and pedestrians will allow greater choice for how residents travel – improving commutes and the air quality within the town.
“Our modern Industrial Strategy has transforming transport infrastructure at its heart, and this project is a positive example of it in action.”
Cllr Jeff Clarke, portfolio holder for transport and planning at Warwickshire County Council, said: “This scheme will bring multiple benefits and I am really pleased with how construction went. We worked hard to minimise the inevitable disruption and feedback to me confirms that commuters have appreciated this.
“Commuters will benefit from reduced congestion, pedestrians and cyclists can move around more freely and the quality of the air should be improved greatly. The aim is to really give Nuneaton town centre a push and this is a brilliant starting point.”
Nick Abell, deputy chair at the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), said: “The work which has been completed with significant investment from the Local Growth Fund will make a major difference to commuters travelling around Nuneaton.
“The Local Growth Fund was set-up to boost the economy and support businesses and the changes made to this important gateway to Nuneaton will achieve that for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.”
Cllr Julie Jackson, Leader of Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council said: “The investment in this project by Warwickshire County Council brings real value to the borough and is a tangible sign of the Transforming Nuneaton vision being delivered. The scheme ensures that the town is preparing for the future by improving access to the sub-regional, regional and national road networks and providing a stimulus of economic growth across the borough.”