CHESTER’S 40-year-old subways are under scrutiny at County Hall.
County Cllr Peter Byrne (Lab) argues that due to the state of the underpasses at Fountains roundabout and City Road ‘and the public distaste for using them in their present condition', the council should consider ways of closing them.
Cllr Byrne wants the subways to be replaced with more pedestrian friendly measures.
He has also asked for the cost to be considered of rerouting vehicles so they go underground and pedestrians cross on the surface.
The subways were built as part of a major development of the road network in Chester and to segregate vehicles and pedestrians, according to a report. Anti-social behaviour and fear of crime have made them less attractive to pedestrians.
County councillors have been told the underpasses at Fountains roundabout and City Road were cleaned by the city council on a regular basis although more recently this was discontinued.
The county council’s contractor took over cleaning and the removal of graffiti although the city council has now resumed responsibility for cleaning the underpasses on a regular basis.
Engineers point out the county council does not have a policy of removing the subways but has taken advantage of development opportunities to provide alternatives.
Three of the original subways, one on St Martin's Way near the old Chester Royal Infirmary site and two on Hoole Way, have been closed.
Engineers describe the suggestion that vehicles could be rerouted underground as ‘totally impractical’ at Fountains roundabout due to the location of the Chester-Holyhead railway line and other technical issues. A major civil engineering project would be required which would have a significant effect on the North- gate Church and other nearby buildings.
The County Hall Executive was due to consider Cllr Byrne’s motion yesterday.