WORK has begun on a project to cut journey times for buses using St Margaret’s Bus Station by creating a new exit directly onto the city’s inner ring road.
Buses leaving the station currently have to travel on a route along New Road, Gravel Street and Abbey Street to get onto Burley’s Way, which adds to the amount of traffic and increases passengers’ journey times.
The new scheme will see a new exit slip road built from the front of the bus station onto Burleys Way itself, shortening journeys by about six minutes on average.
New traffic islands will also be built on Burleys Way, along with new footpaths, crossing point and guard rails along the front of the bus station itself. There will also be some road widening on Burleys Way.
Work began this week, and is expected to be complete in April. The bus station will remain open with bus services remaining unaffected, and a pedestrian crossing will be provided across Burleys Way.
Some temporary road and lane closures will take place towards the end of the scheme, the exact timings for which are yet to be confirmed.
The scheme is costing £750,000 and is funded from the Government’s National Productivity Investment Fund under its Bus Pinch Points project.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “St Margaret’s Bus Station has been a busy hub of the city’s public transport system for very many years, but looking at the layout it makes much more sense for buses to exit directly onto the inner ring road, rather than having to loop around behind it.
“The bus station handles up to 600 buses per day, which is a considerable volume of traffic. Creating a more direct route will save journey time, reduce traffic congestion and simplify the process for vehicles leaving the bus station.
“We will work closely with the contractors to make sure any impact on traffic using the ring road is minimised, and the scheme is completely promptly.”
St Margaret’s Bus Station has been at the centre of the city’s public transport system since 1985, and was last given a major refurbishment in 2007.
In addition to local services, it also handles coaches from National Express, with destinations including London Victoria coach station, and major cities including Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Birmingham and Gatwick, Stansted and Heathrow airports.