HIGHWAYS crews are to work six days a week to deliver a major new housing scheme in Blythe Bridge “as quickly as possible.” St Modwen has been granted planning permission to build almost 120 new homes within the Moorlands village and states that it needs to construct a site entrance, change the existing road lay out and install utilities as part of the scheme. A new pedestrian crossing, which is set to help people cross the road safely, will also be included in the works, along with new pavements on both sides of the road.
The improvements are expected to take around ten weeks to complete and a section of the A521 will need to be closed in both directions to “help ensure the safety of both members of the public and crews.”
The closure, which is now set to start on Monday (October 7), will be from the junction of the A50 roundabout to its junction with the A521 Uttoxeter Road.
A signed diversion is set to be in place throughout the works via Uttoxeter Road and the A50 Blythe Bridge by pass.
Staffordshire County Council has confirmed that the emergency services have been made aware of the road closure and, in the case of an incident on the A50, Highways England is set to implement signed diversion at strategic points on the network.
Councillor Helen Fisher, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport at Staffordshire County Council said: “These are essential road improvements to facilitate the new St Modwen housing development.
“With a scheme of this size, there will always be some disruption, but we will be working closely with the developer to make sure the work is done efficiently as possible, with its crews working 12-hour days to get the job done.
“We looked at all options for keeping one lane open to traffic, but this is not feasible due to the significant safety risks to both members of the public and to highways crews.
“This would be further compounded by the need to manage traffic travelling from the A50.
“I would like to thank people in advance for their co-operation and patience while the work is being carried out.”
A spokesman for St Modwen said in a letter to residents: “St Modwen Homes Ltd apologise for any inconvenience caused and hope you will bear with us whilst we construct this new junction so that the full benefits can be realised by everyone.
“The works involve the realignment of existing carriageways and the formation of a new three-way signalised junction incorporating pedestrian crossing facilities into the development.
“As you can imagine these works are extensive with all of this section of existing carriageway being improved.
“In consultation with Staffordshire County Council Highways, Highways England and all Statutory Undertakers we have investigated all possible options in carrying out these works, including alternative methods such as single lane running.
“Consideration was given to the close proximity of our works and its potential impact to the Highways England network, (namely the A50) and the actual physical execution of the works, including the installation of new improved drainage infrastructure, the presence of existing rock strata, and allied heavy plant to excavate this, as well as all necessary safety zones for plant and machinery.
“Only after careful consideration of all other possible options the resolution to close the A521 (in both directions) between the A50 roundabout and the Uttoxeter Road has been deemed the safest and least disruptive option for the workforce and road users alike and will allow the works to be completed as expediently as possible.”
St Modwen is holding a drop-in event at Blythe Bridge & Forsbrook Village Hall this evening – Wednesday, October 2 from 2pm until 7pm for people to ask any further questions about the works.
County councillor Mark Deaville is urging anyone set to be affected by this road closure to attend the drop-in event. He said: “I strongly oppose this total closure and am continuing to voice my serious concerns with the developer and with the Highways Department.
“I am particularly concerned should there be an incident on the A50 (which as we all know happen on a quite regular basis). This would result in total gridlock in Blythe Bridge and would adversely impact the whole of our area.
“There is a public consultation session with St Modwen at Blythe Bridge Village Hall on Wednesday, October 2 between 2pm and 7pm.
“I would encourage any local resident to call in and express any concerns that they may have.
“This road closure will adversely affect us all in our area – Blythe Bridge, Forsbrook, Boundary, Cheadle, Upper and Lower Tean, Draycott, Checkley, Fulford, Hilderstone, Cresswell and the rest of our surrounding area.
“It will affect journeys to work, dropping children off at school, visits to the doctors, through journeys to University Hospital etc.
“It will affect local businesses to and from New Haden and Cheadle Businesses. JCB and Blythe Park Business Park.
“I am also massively concerned about the large number of cars, mini buses and coaches travelling to Alton Towers for Scare Fest and Fireworks event.
I would really like to reinforce the message around the importance to visit the consultation event on Wednesday.”
Further details about the road closure can also be found at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/A521
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