Work has begun to improve a safety for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists at a notoriously busy Wirral junction.
Campaigners have welcomed the
£1.1 million Highways England project at Two Mills, where the A550 meets the A540 in Ledsham, started on Monday.
A new 320-metre cycle path will be created through the junction, which is halfway between Ellesmere Port and Neston, 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.
The A540, which runs between Chester and Hoylake, is popular with cyclists and group rides set off from a cyclists’ café near the Two Mills junction during most weekends throughout the year.
Most of the work will be carried out overnight on the scheme, which is due for completion in the spring of next 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.
Peter Williams, of Neston is a member of the Chester Cycling Campaign which campaigns for new and improved cycle routes.
He 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.”
Highways England say 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 cycling project at the Two Mills junction 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.
The Two Mills junction has been known locally as an accident blackspot for some time.
Temporary traffic lights were in place for several days earlier this year, causing rush-hour congestion, when the main lights were damaged in a multi-vehicle collision in January.
See full story in the Chester Leader