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Resurfacing works mark final stage of major revamp of busy road

Published on Wednesday, February 22, 2023

4 minute read

New bike bridge lifted into place on Abbey Park Road

A MAJOR £7.5million revamp of a busy Leicester road is nearly complete, with the final phase of resurfacing work due to begin this week.

Leicester City Council has been carrying out an extensive programme of improvements to Abbey Park Road, alongside essential maintenance to its Grade II-listed road bridge.

The work is now entering its final stage with resurfacing of the road – from its junction with Belgrave Circle up to and including the historic road bridge – scheduled to take place from Friday (24 Feb).

Work is expected to take around three weeks to complete, and will be carried out in two phases to help minimise disruption.

The first phase will see the stretch of road between Wolsey Island Way up to and including the historic road bridge resurfaced. This will take around three to four days.

A second phase of work is then due to begin from Monday 27 Feb when the remaining section of Abbey Park Road, between Wolsey Island Way and Belgrave Circle, will be resurfaced. This is expected to take up to three weeks to complete.

Access will be maintained throughout the works, except for on Monday 27 February when the junction to Abbey Meadows will be closed to all traffic for up to one day.

Abbey Park Road will remain closed to through traffic during this final stage of work. The road is due to reopen during week commencing Monday 20 March, but some temporary lane restrictions will be still required while work to the bridge parapets is completed.

The city council has carried out an extensive programme of maintenance to Abbey Corner Bridge, which spans the River Soar. A detailed survey of the bridge, which dates back to 1874, found evidence of corrosion in the cast iron structure and other issues that have now been remedied following months of expert repair and restoration. This will help ensure that this important road bridge can continue to be used safely by heavy traffic for many years to come.

Bridge maintenance work was carried out at the same time as an ambitious programme of highway improvements that will help make Abbey Park Road a more appealing and safer route for all road users, with a new 3.5m-wide bike-friendly footbridge alongside the Abbey Corner Bridge providing the centrepiece.

New bus lanes have been created to run in both directions to give more priority to public transport, improve service reliability and encourage more people to use the bus. Some on-street parking has been removed to create more space for the bus lanes. The scheme has been carefully modelled and designed to ensure that traffic capacity will be maintained, helping to reduce delays and congestion.

Footpaths have been widened with new off road cycle lanes created to provide more space for people walking or riding bikes, and two new road crossings have been installed.

The area immediately in front of the main gates to Abbey Park has also been overhauled to create a more open and attractive approach to the award-winning, historic park.

A new gas main has been installed along Abbey Park Road during the works, ahead of the planned resurfacing. This has sightly extended the anticipated work programme but also reduced the likelihood of further disruptive closures of the road for the foreseeable future.

The £7.5million revamp of Abbey Park Road is supported by the Transforming Cities Fund as part of an ambitious programme of investment in sustainable transport across the city.

Deputy City Mayor Cllr Adam Clarke said: “The ambitious revamp of Abbey Park Road will help change the way that people think about travelling on this busy and important route.

“The new bike-friendly footbridge might be the centrepiece, but a range of carefully considered improvements mean that the road will be more people-friendly whatever means of transport they choose. New bus lanes will help improve journey times and what was a fairly daunting road for cyclists is now a much safer and more appealing route.

“We are grateful for people’s patience. This has been a major programme of work – which has also seen extensive repairs carried out to one of the city’s oldest road bridges.

“Schemes like this don’t come cheaply or without disruption, but it is vital that we continue to invest in helping people make the shift to cleaner, greener, healthier and cheaper modes of travelling around Leicester to further improve the city’s air quality and support our response to the climate emergency. We need to be bold and ambitious in our plans to deliver a greener solution for the future growth of our city.”

Leicester City Council is carrying out an ambitious £80million citywide programme of investment in sustainable transport, backed by £40million from the Department for Transport’s Transforming Cities Fund. The package of work is delivering major sustainable transport improvements to provide attractive choices for people to get to work, education, local and other facilities supporting the city’s growth and deliver on the council’s climate emergency, air quality and healthy living commitments.