Major traffic improvements to reduce congestion at St Mary’s roundabout, Newport, are now live.
The linked traffic signal controlled junctions are now fully operational with all lanes open to traffic for the first time.
Despite eight named storms and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, work by Island Roads on the Isle of Wight Council strategic junction improvement scheme has been delivered to schedule.
The work will improve traffic flows across the busy junction now and well into the future, creating capacity for development envisaged in the Medina Valley over the next 15 years.
This has been achieved by replacing the previous roundabout with a system of ‘intelligent’ traffic signals that are responsive to traffic volumes as well as the creation of additional dedicated slip lanes for traffic turning from the dual carriageway to Forest Road, Hunnyhill and Dodnor Lane.
The project provides for improved connections between central Newport, St Mary’s Hospital and the Isle of Wight College for cyclists and pedestrians and enhanced facilities for bus users which are already improving journey time reliability between Newport and Cowes.
There are three new ‘toucan’ crossings for pedestrians and cyclists at the top of Hunnyhill, Forest Road and across the dual carriageway to the hospital, as well as improved bus shelters at the hospital and Hunnyhill.
While the main junction improvements are now complete, further landscaping work as well as the creation of a new cul-de-sac in front of the homes between Hunnyhill and Forest Road will be completed between now and Christmas. Anti-skid surfacing will also be laid on the approaches to the signals next spring.
The project has been funded by a government grant and is part of a series of measures to reduce congestion in and around Newport.
Next year work will begin on another of these schemes to create more lanes on the section of road between Coppins Bridge and St Georges Way.
Councillor Ian Ward, Cabinet member for transport and infrastructure, said: “I am delighted these enhancements have been delivered on schedule and on budget by Island Roads and I would like to also thank road users, businesses and residents as well as local schools and the Isle of Wight College for their patience and understanding during construction.
“Now the substantial work is in place we will begin to see the benefits of this new system for all highway users. It is important to remember that this scheme is not just about easing congestion today, it will future-proof the junction against the predicted increase in car journeys for years to come.”
Kevin Burton, Island Roads network manager, said: “Given the importance of this busy strategic route, it was vital that we kept on schedule and I am delighted that, despite the challenges, we have managed to do that.
“So many businesses, not least Island companies like Crown Park Construction and Wight Building Materials as well as our own crews, have worked flexibly and with great dedication throughout the past 14 months to keep the project moving.
“We are really pleased to finish the main element of the work on time. The new system is designed to improve journeys and journey times for pedestrians and cyclists as well as motorists and bus users and I am confident the benefits of this work will quickly become apparent to all users.”
Councillor Ward added: “It may take time for people to get used to these new arrangements and I would urge all road users to take additional care when using this junction until they become more familiar with the new road layout and signals.”