A BUSY road in the Moorlands that was due to be sanctioned with a full closure so that development works could be carried out will now only be partially closed. The Times and Echo recently reported that the A521 dual carriageway, which leads onto a roundabout that joins onto the A50, was initially going to be shut both ways for approximately ten weeks so housing developers St Modwen could carry out access construction after being granted permission to build 120 new homes on land adjacent to the road in Blythe Bridge. However, Staffordshire County Council released a statement on Sunday, October 6 that said one lane would now be kept open “where possible”, although the works will now take “around 19 or 20 weeks” to complete. Work started on the constructions on Monday (October 7).
A spokesperson for the county council said: “The St Modwen scheme will see more than 100 new homes built and work will involve constructing the site entrance, change to the existing road lay out and install utilities.
“A new pedestrian crossing will also be included, along with new pavements to link to the village.
“The work over the coming week will involve the section of the A521 from the junction of the A50 roundabout to its junction with the A521 Uttoxeter Road.”
The works are set to be carried out in three separate phases.
The first will involve “the complete closure of one side of the carriageway and one lane on the other side of the carriageway for a period of eight weeks” while “one lane will be open westbound i.e. towards the A50 during this period.”
The second will see “the complete closure of the opposite side of the carriageway for seven weeks with two lanes open eastbound i.e. traffic leaving the A50.”
Finally phase three signifies “four weeks with 3-way traffic signals and lane closures.”
Philip Atkins, leader of Staffordshire County Council, said: “We understand the local concerns about the impact a full closure would have on Blythe Bridge and the surrounding areas.
“Our staff have been working closely with St Modwen and its highways contractors to see if any construction changes could be made so the A521 could be kept partially open, without compromising public safety.”
A public drop-in session organised by St Modwen was held at Blythe Bridge Village Hall on Wednesday, October 2, providing the opportunity for members of the community to talk and quiz developers.
A spokesperson from St. Modwen Homes told the Times and Echo: “We would like to thank local residents for attending last week’s drop-in session.
“We have taken on board concerns about the impact a full closure of the A521 would have on Blythe Bridge and the surrounding areas and worked closely with Staffordshire County Council and its appointed highways contractor to agree an amended traffic management plan, which will now involve a partial closure of the A521 for 19 weeks, rather than a full closure for 10 weeks.
“At times, a full closure of the A521 in both directions will still be needed to carry out certain works and sign diversions will be put in place, however these will be kept to an absolute minimum.
“We understand that there will be some inconvenience for motorists and local residents and for that we apologise.
“We would like to thank the local community for their patience and cooperation whilst these works are undertaken.”
Staffordshire County Councillor Mark Deaville told the Times and Echo: “The public meeting last Wednesday was one of the most emotive and well attended meetings I have ever attended.
“Our local residents were massively concerned, and rightly so, that a total closure of the A521 would divert all east and Westbound traffic through Blythe Bridge.
“This would have resulted in massive issues in our local area. My greatest concern was about Emergency Vehicles being seriously delayed in accessing any incident in the local area.
“I am therefore delighted that Highways officers and officers from the developer have listened to our concerns and avoided total closure.
“This revision means that east and westbound traffic are not now all diverted through Blythe Bridge. I anticipate that there will still be issues over the next few weeks, but I am very relieved that the worst possible scenario of a total closure should be avoided.
“I would like to take the opportunity to thank the local community, local businesses and local councillors for their help and support with this important matter.
“It is a great example of local communities working together to achieve a positive outcome.
“It also shows the strength that we have as a local community when we sense that our, and our family’s safety are being compromised.”
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