A NEW road scheme designed to tackle congestion and create a shorter route between two of the city’s busiest arterial roads is to get underway next week.
Work is due to begin on the £5m link road scheme to connect Putney Road West to Aylestone Road and Saffron Lane, which will create a shorter route for traffic moving from east to west between the Welford Road area and Saffron Lane / Aylestone Road.
The link road scheme will reduce journey times, cut pollution and deter drivers from cutting through smaller residential streets in Knighton Fields in order to take a short cut from the east to the west of the city.
Contractors Balfour Beatty are due to start on site on July 12, and work is expected to continue until late summer 2022.
Work will involve opening Putney Road West to connect it to the junction of Aylestone Road and Saffron Lane, installing new traffic signals at the junction, new traffic islands, and altering the kerb line at Putney Road West, Commercial Square and Putney Road to accommodate a two-way segregated cycleway.
Part of that will involve a series of overnight closures of part of Saffron Lane between 11pm and 6am to enable the work to be carried out. Residents and businesses nearby will be notified in advance of phases that may affect them.
As part of the works, there will be no parking on Putney Road West, including in the turning head at the end of the road, from the start of the works.
The scheme 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.
The link road, which is part funded by £3.2million from the Government’s National Productivity Investment Fund, is also designed to support economic growth by improving access for businesses in the Freemen’s Common Industrial Estate.
Detailed modelling has shown that the scheme will save around 340 tonnes of CO2 each year.
The project also includes high-quality cycling and walking links which are being built in at the same time to improve connectivity, including a link to the new University of Leicester Freemen’s Common Campus at Welford Road, and also to link with the proposed Transforming Cities funded cycleways connecting Aylestone Road to Saffron Lane.
A new pedestrian and cycle super-crossing over Aylestone Road will also be installed for use by Leicester City Football Club fans to get to the stadium on matchdays.
The complementary sustainable transport works will cost £2.9m, funded through existing approved budgets fed by the Government’s Department for Transport grants.
Leicester Deputy City Mayor for Environment and Transportation, Cllr Adam Clarke, said: “The background work we’ve done around this link road scheme shows that it will have a beneficial effect on air quality by cutting pollution, as well as reducing the need for motorists to rat-run through residential streets to get to Saffron Lane and Aylestone Road.
“By adding in a programme of sustainable cycling and walking links at the same time, we can improve connections between the new road layout and key local developments in the area, such as the proposed expansion of the football stadium and the University of Leicester’s Freemen’s Common campus.”