Bus passengers, cyclists and pedestrians will start seeing a new-look Oxford Road in Manchester when roadworks finish and the first stage of a permanent change comes into effect.
Engineers working on Transport for Greater Manchester’s (TfGM) bus priority project were due to lay a new surface, kerb to kerb, between Hathersage Road and Denmark Road in a three-day operation starting on June 6.
The work is part of a £122m programme to deliver faster bus journeys to, from and through the city centre with more punctual and reliable services.
The Oxford Road scheme, started in 2014, will ultimately see a bus and cycle-only corridor created between Hathersage Road and Grosvenor Street, to be introduced in phases as the work progresses.
This investment is itself part of the wider Grow package of investment, which includes £1bn of city centre infrastructure improvements by 2017, including bus priority measures.
The bike lanes utilise ‘floating bus stops,’ where instead of overtaking a bus, the rider can cycle between the stop and the pavement. The new coloured cycleway features pedestrian crossing points to enhance safety.
The resurfacing works, which requires that part of the road be closed to all traffic, have been timed with an existing road closure and to bookend the installation of new segregated cycle lanes. Bus route diversions in place already are unchanged.
Once the roadworks are completed on June 9, general traffic heading into the city on Oxford Road will be unable to travel past this point between 0600 and 2100hrs and will instead be permanently rerouted, turning right on to Hathersage Road.
Cllr Andrew Fender, Chairman of the TfGM Committee, said: “This work will completely transform Oxford Road, making it a much more pleasant space for everyone.
“While these improvements to the public space are long-lasting and to be welcomed, the real purpose of what we are doing is to support the economy and the community by improving connections for people and offering more travel choices and for work, education, leisure or healthcare.”
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Oxford Road is one of the city’s busiest routes and a better environment for pedestrians, improved cycle infrastructure, better bus routes and good alternatives for cars will make travelling the route safer and more enjoyable for all road users.
“To encourage more people to get on a bike, we need innovative cycle ways that make cycling truly viable for any ability – but these improvement works represent a wider ambition to create a range of different options for travel across the city.”