Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are set to benefit from a £1.1m scheme to improve safety at a busy junction near Ellesmere Port.
The Highways England project at Two Mills, where the A550 meets the A540, started on Monday (July 17). It will create a new 320m cycle path through the junction with traffic lights and toucan crossings making it easier to cross the A550.
The right turn lanes onto the A540 from the A550 will also be improved and a new high-friction road surface will be laid to reduce the risk of collisions at the junction.
Highways England says the A540, which runs between Chester and Hoylake, is popular with cyclists. Group rides set off from a cyclists’ café near the Two Mills junction during most weekends throughout the year.
Phil Tyrrell, project manager at Highways England, said: “We’re committed to significantly improving safety across our road network and the new cycle path as well as the wider and longer right turn lanes will make it much easier and safer for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to cross the junction.
“We will do everything we can to keep disruption to a minimum while the work is taking place and look forward to seeing the new cycle path open in time for the spring.”
The new cycle path, which will be shared by cyclists and pedestrians, will run along the southbound A540. The route will cross two new islands on the A550 at the Two Mills junction before continuing along the A540.
Two crossings will also be created at either end of the cycle path for people travelling in the opposite direction. The bus stop on the A540 will be moved to the opposite side of the junction to allow space for the new cycle path.
Cyclists hail scheme
Welcoming the project, Peter Williams from Neston, a member of the Chester Cycling Campaign which presses for new and improved cycle routes, said: “We’re really pleased to see this scheme taking place as the junction is used by lots of cyclists every week – either commuting to work or for leisure.
“I tend to meet up with members of the Chester and North Wales Cyclists’ Touring Club twice a week at the Eureka cyclists’ café near the junction before we set off on a ride.
“You have to be really careful when you cross the junction at the moment and a few people I know have had their bikes clipped by drivers who haven’t seen them so the new cycle path will definitely make it safer.”
Most of the work will be carried out overnight between 8pm and 5am, with some work also taking place at weekends. A series of overnight lane or road closures will be in place on most nights, with clearly-signed diversions. The scheme is due to be completed by spring 2018.
The project is one of 200 cycling schemes taking place across England up until 2021 paid for by a £100m government fund for cycling. The schemes are designed to make it easier for cyclists to cross motorway junctions and use major A roads.