Following on from the successful Bridgefield Street Regeneration Scheme, we were asked to upgrade the major junction connecting the A560 (Knightsbridge) with Warren Street and Corporation Street, a key route into the centre of Stockport and a highly trafficked area.
Forming part of Stockport’s Town Centre Access plan, Knightsbridge was to be widened from three lanes to four with an additional bus layby. The restructure being to improve the left-hand turn and the traffic flow through the town centre. The footpaths around the junction were remodelled to better accommodate the very heavy footfall in the area and to include a cycle path to ensure safe passage of cyclist across the busy junction. This was completed with high quality paving and street furniture to improve the scape of the junction. This scheme formed part of the Councils plan to create more public space and to open up the River Mersey.
The junction was outside a main supermarket and other shops so to maintain uninterrupted trading, we altered our working hours, meaning our works in this area were only ever done outside of their trading hours.
Maintaining pedestrian safety was vital but incurred some challenges as it was a very busy junction with a high volume of pedestrian traffic. We made sure that diversions put in place were safe for all the passing traffic. Using a whole lane ensured there was plenty of room for pedestrians to pass by safely. In places where this was not possible, we programmed our works to be undertaken in small sections, so there was always an accessible pedestrian route. Fencing was erected to protect the locals from our works, and we had a full-time traffic safety officer.
Constructing a safe widening of the carriageway meant building a 6-metre-high concrete retaining wall connected to the existing bridge over the River Mersey. Complications with this included the removal of Knotweed and carefully taking down an existing brick wall, ensuring no contamination of the environmentally sensitive riverbank. This turned out to be more of a challenge than originally anticipated. Due to the weak structure of the existing wall and the existence of cellars beneath the bridge, there were logistical and difficult access challenges that had to be overcome in stabilising the bridge.
We devised a programme pre-construction that would enable us to deliver the project on time. Meaning surfacing and electrical contractors could start their works when originally scheduled to. The programme included multiple phases that would incorporate the problems of diversions and shop access. Splitting the work into phases meant access to all areas was maintained with very minimal disruption and that we could complete our works on time.