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Work to start on Hereford’s Newmarket Street after Christmas
WORK to turn Hereford’s Newmarket Street into a single-lane “shared space” for cars and pedestrians is set to start after Christmas and be finished in time for the Old Market development’s spring opening.
The changes will bring about partial closures of the city centre route.
Hereford Futures chief executive Jonathan Bretherton could not give an exact time for any roadworks but said the street would be partially closed for a longer period than that when Newmarket Street was reduced to one lane for four weeks earlier this year.
The central reservation will be the first section to go, and traffic will be limited to a single-lane in either direction at different points.
However Mr Bretherton insists lessons have been learned from previous projects.
He said: “I am less concerned about this than I was with the sewage works on Newmarket Street.
“I think we watched what happened with the redevelopment of the ASDA roundabout and learned what not to do.”
Running from the junction with Widemarsh Street to the Edgar Street roundabout, the redevelopment will feature a wider central reservation and easy crossing points designed to improve the links between High Town and the new shopping development.
Details and design points are still being discussed; a decision over the road surface for example – which needs to be aesthetically appealing, while also durable enough to take 30,000 vehicles a day – is still to be reached.
But Widemarsh Gate – as the new junction has been called – is seen by developers as being the key connection between the city’s two retail hearts, and its construction is being paid for by Stanhope and British Land – the main players behind the Old Market.
Part of the plan will be the inclusion of trees and cycle stands in the central reservation.
These, the developers claim, will off-set, to some extent, the recent loss of greenery on Edgar Street and follow through on council plans to make the city cycle-friendly.
While the council insists that it will work with road users to keep disruption to a minimum during construction – the finished scheme is designed to work in conjunction with the proposed link road that will run from Commercial Road to Edgar Street.
The link road – which is yet to be given a formal start date – was designed to alleviate traffic, in part so that Newmarket Street could be reduced to a more pedestrian-friendly single carriageway.
Without it, Newmarket Street will be asked to continue bearing the brunt of east-west traffic, with half the capacity and an anticipated increase in traffic going to the Old market.
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