Government asked to back Liverpool’s £120m Rocket redesign plan

Transport for the North is backing Liverpool City Council’s ‘critical’ scheme for the congested Rocket junction which it is claimed will slash congestion and air pollution. Tony McDonough reports

The Rocket
The Rocket is the busiest junction in the Liverpool city region. Image courtesy of Liverpool City Council

 

A £120m plan to radically redesign Liverpool’s Rocket junction at the entrance to the M62 has been submitted for approval for the Department for Transport.

Transport for the North has included Liverpool City Council’s scheme in a package of our major projects within a £700m programme of works that have been identified as critical to the economic growth of the north of England.

Draft proposals for the major upgrade to the Rocket Junction would include the demolition of the existing Queens Drive flyover and replacing it with a new roundabout, featuring a dual lane underpass.

Full capacity

The junction is the busiest in Liverpool city region with more than 100,000 vehicles travelling through it every day. It connects the start of the M62, with the A5080 and the A5058 Queens Drive.

Due to increasing traffic, the junction is currently functioning at full capacity in the morning and evening peak hours, and this is expected to deteriorate further in the next five years and the council sees the redesign as crucial to its bid to reduce congestion and air pollution in Liverpool.

Physical signs of weakness in the Queens Drive Viaduct have also prompted investigations which indicate that significant investment is needed to upgrade the structure.

Flawed design

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “The Rocket is not fit for purpose – it can no longer cope with the traffic coming into the city via the M62 and as welcome to Liverpool is a hugely negative experience.

As we all know, the junction is flawed as the motorway should have come all the way to the edge of the city centre but stopped at the Queens Drive ring road instead. In its current state the Rocket junction is causing commuter misery every single day and by its flawed design is causing congestion and contributing to greater air pollution.”

As well as the removal of the flyovers, the existing signalised junction will be reconfigured to incorporate a traffic signal controlled gyratory with provision for through traffic travelling north/south on Queens Drive. It is known as a ‘hamburger’ type layout, where the main road passes through the centre of the roundabout.

The bid to the Department for Transport is for £92m with Liverpool City Council contributing the remainder via its £500m Better Roads programme. If approved, it is anticipated works for the scheme would begin in 2023.

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