Highways experts in Liverpool are proposing changes to the £10.5m transformation of LIme Street which will mean the north and south ends of the city centre will retain bus links. Tony McDonough reports
Buses will be able to travel in both directions along Lime Street in Liverpool under proposed amendments to the now £10.5m transformation scheme.
Work on the remodelling of Lime Street, part of the city council’s £47m Liverpool City Centre Connectivity programme (LCCC), began in October 2020 but, in October 2021, the scheme’s main contractor, NMCN, collapsed into administration.
Weeks earlier councillors had expressed concern that the scheme, which will see changes to the way buses move around the city centre, would mean south to north city bus routes would be cut off.
Following NMCN’s collapse, Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson took the opportunity to pause the scheme and asked experts in the highways department to come up with some amendments to the scheme.
Now they have come up with proposals that will be presented to councillors on the city’s Environment and Climate Change Committee Tuesday, January 25. If approved it means buses will be able to travel both ways down Lime Street and a limited number of bus services will link the Liverpool ONE and Queen Square bus stations.
The alterations will also include enhanced pedestrian crossings, improved cycle facilities, secure cycle parking, a bus stop outside Lime Street station, disabled parking facilities and the introduction of a 20 mph zone together with access-only restrictions on Lime Street, between Queens Square Bus Station and London Road.
The road has already been narrowed from Lime Street Station up to the Adelphi Hotel, and no further changes are planned here. The Lime Street scheme had originally included a new water feature at the northern end of St George’s Hall.
However, it is now being proposed that this feature should be removed, to allow for the reconnection of the historic Steble Fountain at the southern end of the Grade I-listed venue.
The select committee will meet to scrutinise the new proposals, which will require an additional £1.5m due to the pre-Christmas safety works which were necessary to be undertaken when the contractor went into administration.
After the select committee, the proposals will then go to the council’s cabinet meeting on Friday, February 4, for final approval. If approval is granted, contractors will be engaged to complete the scheme. The resurfacing works, which will see the installation of a cycle lane, will then go out to tender. It is expected all works will be complete by summer.
Mayor Anderson tweeted out her satisfaction with the changes on Tuesday morning. She posted: “I’d like to thank our highways team for revisiting Lime Street and coming up with a solution to incorporate buses back into this vitally important scheme.”
The Lime Street scheme also includes a widening of St George’s Plateau. The LCCC programme has already delivered upgrades to key roads such as The Strand, Dale Street and Victoria Street and has created a dedicated new bus hub and coach park.
Works on the southern section of The Strand are expected to begin in the summer, with similar works programmed for Tithebarn Street and Water Street which will see the creation of more cycle lanes to connect to The Strand.
Cllr Dan Barrington, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, added: “The Lime Street scheme has generated quite a few problems, not least the collapse of the original contractor and we apologise for the delays and disruption this has caused.
“However, this gave us the opportunity to revisit the design of the scheme, especially the biggest complaint we were receiving – the removal of access for buses at Brownlow Hill.
“I’d like to thank the officers and the engineers for their hard work in this proposed redesign. It’s a good compromise and one which ensures the overall aims of improving the Lime Street experience, without hurting bus users on certain key routes.”