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Utility works to begin as part of link road scheme

Roadwork signs on a truck

ENABLING works are due to begin on a scheme to create a new link road which will divert traffic away from residential streets and reduce pollution, traffic congestion and create a better road network in part of Leicester.

A scheme to connect Putney Road West to Aylestone Road and Saffron Lane will create a shorter route for traffic moving from east to west between the Welford Road area and Saffron Lane / Aylestone Road.

It is designed to help to relieve congestion on the southern central ring road network, particularly around the Leicester Tigers Football Club ground and the approaches from Welford Road, Aylestone Road and Upperton Road.

Work is due to begin from Monday, October 5, to reposition underground cables and pipework from beneath the junction of Aylestone Road and Saffron Lane, to ensure they are out of the way before work starts next year on the main scheme.

Firms including Western Power, Cadent and BT are all due to be on site over the next six months to reposition their underground networks ahead of the start of the junction works.

Once all the utility works have been completed in spring 2021, contractors from Balfour Beatty are due to begin construction work on the link road itself, which will cut traffic congestion and also improve overall vehicle travel times and air quality, by creating shorter routes, more efficient distribution of traffic and shorter journey times.

Air quality will be measured before and after construction at various sites along the new route. The link road project in total is costing £5million, of which £3.2million is coming from the Government’s National Productivity Investment Fund.

The scheme will also support economic growth by improving access for businesses in the Freemen’s Common Industrial Estate, and improving access to nearby developments including the University of Leicester’s new £150million Freemen’s Common Student Village, which is due for completion in late 2022.

Improvements to nearby road crossings and better walking and cycling facilities are also being created along Putney Road as part of that scheme.

Leicester deputy city for environment and transportation, Cllr Adam Clarke, said: “Currently, drivers wanting to make an east-west crossing in that part of the city have to choose between taking one of a number of longer routes, or cutting through the small residential streets in Knighton Fields, both of which add to traffic congestion and pollution.

“Detailed modelling has shown that the scheme will save around 340 tonnes of CO2 each year, which is a significant benefit.

“These enabling works by the utility companies must be carried out now to ensure that they are completed in time for the main scheme to get underway next year.

“Given the nature of the work on the highway and adjoining pavement, some temporary lane closures will be needed from time to time wduring the work, but the junction of Aylestone Road and Saffron Lane will remain open to traffic.”

Much of the utility work will focus on the verges and pavements, but during the course of work there will be some lane closures on the nearest section of Aylestone Road, although the road and its junction with Saffron Lane will remain open at all times.

BT, Western Power and Cadent are due to carry out works between October and December, with BT continuing work after Christmas, alongside Virgin and Vodafone. Vehicles won't be able to park in the turning head at the end of Putney Road West during the work.

Details of all traffic and travel in Leicester are available from Area Traffic Control’s Twitter on @ATCLeicester