Northwich gyratory plan to deal with bridge closure

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Emergency services have not reported any concerns with delay caused by the Northwich gyratory trial.

Fire, ambulance and police services have all been involved in the gyratory planning which is now being made permanent.

One of the bridges is only closed once or twice a week for river traffic to pass and on each occasion the emergency services are informed in advance.

In the event of a closure for repairs and maintenance, there is a prepared plan for the temporary restoration of two-way traffic on the bridge which remains open, with a traffic light system controlling the change of direction.

Richard Flood, Cheshire West and Chester’s Area Highways Manager, explained: “Some disruption has always been the case when one of the bridges is closed.  We have consulted with the emergency services and have a detailed plan to deal with both temporary and longer closures for things like bridge repair work.

“Any temporary delay created by the closure of either Town Bridge or Hayhurst Bridge for river traffic has to be compared with the overall improvements to queue lengths on the gyratory system when both bridges are operating for the majority of the time.

“The gyratory system also allows for lane closures to be used for the majority of normal Highway works rather than temporary traffic lights which would cause greater disruption.”

Mr Flood recalled the six weeks of road works by Scottish Power on Castle Street during the gyratory trial last year and the recent two water bursts in Chesterway, all of which under the old system would have require stop-go temporary traffic lights creating serious disruption.

The gyratory system was trialled for more than a year and the consultation process was advertised in the Northwich Guardian, websites and social media.  The consultation results are included in the evaluation report.

There has been a customer on-line feedback questionnaire and a paper copy was also placed in numerous locations around Northwich for people without internet access to gauge the views of all users.  The gyratory was discussed at community forums held in Northwich Memorial Hall.

Councillor Herbert Manley, Executive Member for Culture and Regeneration, said: “Northwich Town Council has been involved with the consultation process over the past 12 months.

Officers attended a Town Council meeting in March 2012 to discuss the Gyratory scheme following its implementation in January 2012.  Some concerns were raised but these were addressed in changes made in August 2012.

“The Town Council were invited to make a formal objection as part of the 6-month consultation process for the scheme but we did not receive a response from them.

“However, the general comments that they have subsequently made are similar to those made by others that were considered as part of the decision making process.”