Pioneering CYCLOPS junction among schemes to improve St Helens Borough's highway network
Improvement schemes which will see millions of pounds invested in the local highway network to encourage active travel and boost the local economy have been welcomed by senior politicians.
Article date: 3 November 2022
St Helens Southern Gateway
As part of its commitment to active travel and achieving net zero by 2040, St Helens Borough Council is leading on a project to install a CYCLOPS (Cycle Optimised Protected Signals) junction in Lea Green, the first of its kind in Merseyside.
Replacing the roundabout by the Bull and Dog pub, the CYCLOPS - which prioritises the safety of pedestrians and cyclists - forms an integral part of the £15m St Helens Southern Gateway scheme, a partnership between the local authority, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Northern Rail to help make sustainable travel an easier choice for commuters who use Lea Green Railway Station.
Appearing in more and more cities and towns across the UK, CYCLOPS junctions segregate cyclists from motorists, reducing the possibility of collisions or conflict - while making pedestrian crossing times quicker.
Following a competitive procurement process, local based firm, Huyton Asphalt, have been confirmed as the contractor to deliver this project.
During the works and as part of the project's commitment to social value there will be extensive engagement with local schools. This will include education and awareness raising sessions on construction, health and safety, and the variety of careers on offer in the construction sector. More broadly, the project will provide job and work experience opportunities as well as looking to work with community groups, assisting with local improvement opportunities where possible.
The CYCLOPS is one of a number of improvements being introduced around Lea Green Railway Station as part of St Helens Southern Gateway - funded by the Liverpool City Region's Transforming Cities Fund - with work underway on a new decked car park and ticket boking system to take park and ride capacity to around 450 vehicles; a new station building with waiting room, toilets and other customer facilities - along with seven new walking and cycling routes to connect Lea Green to nearby residential, leisure and employment areas.
Construction of the CYCLOPS will start on Monday 7 November and is expected to be completed by late spring 2023. Although no road closures will be required until at least Christmas, motorists are advised to plan their journeys ahead, with diversion signs in place and access to local businesses still available.
For more information on the St Helens Southern Gateway scheme, visit www.sthelens.gov.uk/leagreen
As part of the council's strategic capital investment scheme, up to £950,000 has been allocated to carry out essential repair works to Huskisson Bridge in Newton-le-Willows.
Running over the Manchester to Liverpool railway line, Huskisson Bridge is a key logistical asset which was significantly damaged following a fire on Sankey Valley Industrial Estate in May 2020.
Despite a slight delay due to the complex and specialist nature of the works and permission needed to work above the railway line, works are progressing well with the installation of temporary scaffolding to allow safe access and treatment of the existing paint surfacing that was in poor condition.
It is expected that the bridge will be fully re-opened early in the New Year with the industrial estate remaining accessible throughout the duration of the works.
Councillor Andy Bowden, St Helens Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport said:
"The council is responsible for 484 miles of road and a further 553 miles of footways which I am determined to ensure are kept safe and in the best possible condition they can be, whether you drive, cycle or walk- not just for today, but for the future. I also want to ensure that we lead the way in achieving net zero by 2040. This kind of investment demonstrates our commitment to deliver and do whatever it takes to make St Helens a clean, green borough.
"St Helens Southern Gateway is a flagship scheme showing our investment and commitment to active travel and I am delighted the CYCLOPS element of the project will be overseen by a St Helens firm that has been based here for more than 40 years, employing local people. While our commitment to repair Huskinson Bridge will fully reopen an important asset that connects a key industrial estate, supporting our local businesses and residents.
"Our vision is to be a leading highway authority, creating a well-connected, accessible transport network that supports economic growth and these two schemes are fine examples of that commitment."
Councillor Liam Robinson, Transport Portfolio Holder for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, said:
"For far too long, many in our region have been forced to contend with a fragmented, under-funded public transport system that doesn't offer them what they deserve - a quality alternative to the car - we're putting that right.
"Mayor Rotheram has said that he wants to start an active travel revolution here in the Liverpool City Region - one that offers better connected, green routes that will make it easier than ever for people to choose cleaner ways to travel.
"In St Helens, as in all six boroughs of our city region, we're working with local councils to invest millions to upgrade our walking and cycling routes to the rest of our network, linking entire communities up to areas and opportunities that before seemed out of reach.
"Infrastructure like this new CYCLOPS junction will help people to travel by foot and bike safely and with confidence, encouraging more people out of their cars which will reduce congestion and drive down carbon emissions in our city region."