One of Liverpool’s oldest streets to close for two weeks

One of the original ‘seven streets of Liverpool’ is to close for two weeks as part of the city’s £47m highways transformation programme. Tony McDonough reports

Water Street
Water Street is one of Liverpool’s original ‘seven streets’. Picture by Tony McDonough


One of Liverpool’s oldest city centre streets is to close temporarily as part of the £47m highways transformation programme.

Water Street, originally known as Bank Street, was one of the ‘seven streets of Liverpool’ dating back to medieval times. It starts at Liverpool Town Hall and goes downhill, across the Strand, to the Pier Head.

From 9.30am on Friday, March 5, the road will close for two weeks to enable engineering works at its junction with The Strand. The waterfront thoroughfare is currently undergoing a £22m redesign to improve air quality as part of the Liverpool City Centre Connectivity programme.

The scale of the engineering works requires Water Street to be closed at its junction with Castle Street just before Liverpool Town Hall. Current bollard access restriction to Castle Street, Brunswick Street and Lower Castle Street will be lifted temporarily to allow vehicle access for the duration of the works.

Road diversions will be in place while business deliveries will be allowed and Water street will reopen on Monday, March 22.

The poor safety record of The Strand, with four fatalities in the two years before works began, is also being addressed with the creation of wider pavements and shorter pedestrian crossings.

The removal of several junctions along the 2km long, four-lane dual carriageway, such as Mann Island, has also been designed to ensure traffic flow is more fluid meaning less air pollution, as cars are not stopping and starting so frequently. The Mann Island junction is to be remodelled as open space and a potential site for performances and public art.

The Strand currently has a one-lane filter on the Southbound carriageway, from Leeds Street to James Street, to allow contractors to install a new kerb line, footpath and to plant more than 30 new trees. This first phase of works is due to end in summer 2021.

Another key element of the new look Strand is to create a permanent segregated cycle lane to connect the south of Liverpool to the north, allowing cyclists to eventually ride the full length of the Mersey from Otterspool to Southport. Plans are also being developed to ensure the city’s new 65-mile pop-up cycle lane network is connected.

New trees, specially planted to reduce flooding, and public spaces are also being installed as part of a wider strategy to attract and promote walking in the city centre. It is estimated that the overhaul of The Strand, which has remained untouched since the 1950s, will be complete by spring 2022.

Cllr Sharon Connor, Liverpool’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “The phased remodelling of The Strand is moving at pace now and although there will be some disruption our contractors have worked very hard to minimise the impact, especially for businesses.

“Water Street is a key junction and it’s vital to close the access to The Strand to enable our contractors to work in safety. Anyone travelling into Liverpool city centre can see the changes taking place and thankfully the finishing line is now in sight for this phase of the upgrade to The Strand.”

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