WORK to improve the Upper Northgate and George Street junction in Chester is now complete.

It formed part of Cheshire West and Chester Council’s investment programme in the city and was directly linked to the Gorse Stacks bus interchange project.

Council chiefs say bus passengers, cyclists, pedestrians and motorists will now benefit from a number of changes to the way the old junction operated.

The traffic signals have been removed and replaced with new zebra crossings on Canal Street, George Street and Northgate Street, while a number of additional uncontrolled crossings have also been included to improve pedestrian accessibility.

Buses that used to travel down Northgate Street toward the city have been rerouted to Gorse Stacks.

Some buses still come into Upper Northgate Street via Canal Street and need access into Delamere Street to get to the new bus interchange.

The direction of the old bus lane has been reversed to allow this direct access into Delamere Street to reduce passenger journey time.

Cyclists, taxis and other authorised vehicles are also able to use the bus lane.

For cyclists travelling into the city, there is now a new segregated cycleway on the George Street side of the junction.

Improvements made to the bus stop in George Street, including a new shelter and bus lay-by, will boost public transport links between the new bus interchange and the Northgate area.

Cllr Karen Shore, cabinet member for environment at the council, said: “The works at Upper Northgate Street are now complete except for a few minor elements which will be finished within the next couple of weeks.

“The bus lane has now opened up to buses, cycles, motorcycles, and taxis. This will create a speedier route for buses to get to the bus interchange and will also alleviate the impact of them using the Fountains Roundabout, freeing up space to other traffic.

“Over the years there have been many changes to this part of the city. When the lights were originally installed, the old bus station by the market was in operation, as was Gorse Stacks Car Park and Northgate Street was a two-way street.

“The way buses route into the city has seen a huge reduction in buses entering Northgate Street and an increase in pedestrian traffic, due to new bus stops.

“Introducing zebra crossings at the junction has given pedestrians priority. The crossroads itself is raised to pavement level and finished in coloured surfacing materials to accentuate the areas where people cross the road.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank residents and businesses for their patience and co-operation during these roadworks. It has been greatly appreciated.”

The scheme was awarded to North Midland Construction Plc and has been completed on time and to programme.