WORK has finally been completed on the controversial Lovely Lane CYCLOPS scheme on Lovely Lane – the first of its kind in Warrington.
The new junction at Bewsey Road and Lovely Lane aims to make travel safer and smoother for all, including those who walk and cycle.
Costing almost £1 million, the project which started in August and took an extra three weeks to complete, sparked controversy with road users impacted by lengthy traffic delays during the works, with many taking to social media to express their frustrations and accusing the council of wasting money.
The ‘Cycle Optimised Protected Signals’ – or ‘CYCLOPS’ – junction separates people walking, cycling and wheeling from vehicles, reducing the risk of collisions or conflict between users.
First developed by Transport for Greater Manchester – and now common across the UK to create new routes and help cyclists through busy junctions – the new CYCLOPS junction is the first of its kind in Warrington.
CYCLOPS junctions have a number of benefits over other junction layouts, including:
• Crossing times for people walking are shorter and closer to the preferred route
• Cyclists are separated from motor vehicles and from pedestrians
• The signal phase for people walking and cycling can run at the same time
For drivers, there will be no change, as the CYCLOPS junction works as a conventional, signalised crossroads.
As part of the project, full resurfacing of the junction has been carried out, along with an upgrade of the traffic signals.
Warrington Borough Council’s cabinet member for highways, transportation and public realm, Cllr Hans Mundry, said: “I’m delighted that we have completed the first scheme of this type in Warrington. It shows our ambition to develop a cycle network which provides a real alternative for people coming into the town centre.
“The junction at Bewsey Road and Lovely Lane has been in need of an upgrade for some time, and the new CYCLOPS scheme will provide a high quality, user-friendly junction for everyone, making it easier and safer for people to walk and cycle.
“At the same time, we’ve been able to combine a resurfacing scheme with an upgrade of the traffic signal equipment, which was approaching 20 years old.
“It’s part of our ongoing work, through our Local Transport Plan, to improve safety on our highway network and encourage people to travel in more sustainable ways. “
The Lovely Lane/Bewsey Road junction lies at the intersection of two key routes providing access to jobs, schools and leisure facilities. The corridors surrounding the junction are key links on the council’s cycling and walking strategic neighbourhood route network as defined in the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan.
Over 80% of the scheme funding came from a successful bid to the Government’s Active Travel Fund, with the scheme delivered on programme and within budget.
The council will be monitoring the junction closely in the coming days and staff will be on site to explain to pedestrians and cyclists how the junction works. In addition, the council will be working with local schools to make sure parents and children benefit fully from the scheme.
The scheme forms part of a wider plan to provide a much-improved route for cyclists into the town centre from Sankey Valley and north west Warrington, with corresponding plans now being developed for improvements along Bewsey Road and into the heart of the town centre.
Further information is available at warrington.gov.uk/lovely-lane-improvement