Two of the city centre’s most important roads will undergo major changes next week as a £47m project reaches a critical phase.
Lime Street will temporarily close to southbound traffic from the junction at Ranelagh Street, while access from The Strand to the Pier Head via the Mann Island junction will be removed.
Both alterations, which are key to the Liverpool City Centre Connectivity programme, will come into effect on Monday 25 January.
A “bus gate” has already been introduced on Ranelagh Street, at the junction with Great Charlotte Street. This measure restricts access to all vehicles on the westbound lane, except buses, taxis and bikes, from 7am to midnight every day.
The remodelling of Lime Street into a single lane route in both directions, to and from St Johns Lane, will enable the expansion of St George’s Hall plateau to create a performance space, a cycle lane and water feature will also be installed. The Lime Street revamp should be complete by summer.
The Strand, which runs past the Royal Albert Docks, Liverpool One and Three Graces, is undergoing a £22m redesign to improve air quality.
The removal of several junctions along the 2km dual carriageway, such as Mann Island, is intended to ensure traffic flow is more fluid meaning less air pollution.
Wider pavements and shorter pedestrian crossings are being introduced, partly in response to the road’s poor safety record. The Mann Island junction is to be remodelled as open space and a potential venue for performances and public art.
The Strand currently has a one lane filter on the southbound carriageway, from Leeds Street to James Street, to allow contractors to install a new kerb line, footpath and to plant new trees. This first phase of works is due to end in summer, with the wider project completed in spring 2022.
Another key element is the creation of a permanent segregated cycle lane to connect the south of Liverpool to the north, allowing cyclists to eventually ride from Otterspool to Southport.
Plans are also being developed to connect with the new 65-mile pop-up cycle network.
The £47m Liverpool City Centre Connectivity scheme has already led to changes to Victoria Street, Dale Street, Brownlow Hill, City Bus Hub and the removal of the Churchill Way flyover, as well as a new coach park.
The programme is backed by £40.1m from the Local Growth Fund and local funding of £7m.
Cllr Sharon Connor, the council’s cabinet member for highways, described the pair of projects as a “game-changer,” adding: “The removal of the access to Mann Island is hugely symbolic, given the history of how buses used to terminate at the Pier Head. That connection will end forever on Monday – but it’s the right move.
“The city centre has changed out of sight in the past 20 years, but our road layout is still as it was half a century ago.”