A major programme of proposed improvements to one of Leicester’s ‘most confusing’ junctions and its connecting roads has been outlined by the city council.
Leicester City Council is planning a series of major improvements to improve the safety of the FiveWays junction, in north west Leicester, and help make its connecting streets safer and more attractive for pedestrians and cyclists while also improving the routes for buses.
The major £10.4million scheme will be paid for through a mix of Enterprise Zone funding through the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership, and the Transforming Cities Fund following the city council’s successful bid for £32million of second tranche funding to support improvements to public transport and providing more safer cycling and walking routes into city neighbourhoods and the city centre.
As part of the plans, the city council is proposing a complete redesign of the busy FiveWays junction which links Blackbird Road, Woodgate, Fosse Road North, Groby Road and Buckminster Road.
The proposed changes include removing the left turn from Blackbird Road into Woodgate, and the right turn from Woodgate into Blackbird Road, as well as closing the existing service road by the shops at the junction of Groby Road and Buckminster Road. Vehicle access to the medical centre will be maintained.
Space will be reallocated for pedestrians and cyclists along with new landscaping and tree planting.
All existing traffic islands, stop lines and signals at the junction will be removed and replaced with a simpler arrangement. New crossings for pedestrians and cyclists will also be introduced and the junction will be completely resurfaced.
Major improvements are proposed for Woodgate, between the FiveWays junction and Abbey Gate. This would see footways widened and a new off-road cycle track constructed. New parking and loading bays would be created. The existing bus stop and pedestrian crossing would be moved and the existing entrance to the supermarket carpark narrowed to improve pedestrian safety.
A new bike docking station is also proposed as part of the Santander Cycles Leicester e-bike hire scheme.
The improvements for cyclists and pedestrians will continue along Frog Island and Northgate Street with wider pavements, a new off-road cycle track, improved pedestrian crossings and raised tables at the junctions with key side streets to improve safety. The cycle lane will continue onto Great Central Street with new lining and wands marking the route.
On Fosse Road North, the carriageway will be widened slightly to help create a new bus lane on the inbound route between FiveWays junction and Stephenson Drive, where the existing roundabout will be removed. A new off-road cycle track is also proposed for this stretch of road.
Minor changes are also proposed for a short stretch of Buckminster Road, between the FiveWays junction and Colwell Road. Existing car parking on the verges close to the shops will be removed and the area re-landscaped with more space allocated to pedestrians and cyclists. A new bike docking station is also proposed.
Work on the major improvements to the FiveWays junction and surrounding streets is due to begin in Autumn 2022 and will be carried out in phases to help minimise disruption. It is expected that the ambitious scheme will be complete by spring 2024.
The proposed improvements will connect to improvements completed as part of the major investment in the Leicester North West Major Transport Project which has improved links between the city, key developments such as Ashton Green, and to the city’s Western bypass, the A46 and A50 corridors.
This includes major investment made in 2018 to create more capacity for vehicles at the junction of Blackbird Road, Anstey Lane and Ravensbridge Drive. It is anticipated that this will help reduce the amount of traffic using Woodgate by up to 30 per cent in coming years, helping to significantly improve traffic flow and cut congestion.
The proposed new scheme will also link to forthcoming schemes to improve walking and cycling on Blackbird Road and recently completed investment to encourage more use of sustainable transport on nearby Anstey Lane.
Two drop-in information days have been arranged for people to find out more about the proposed scheme. These will take place at Woodgate resource Centre, 36 Woodgate, on Tuesday 5 April, from 4pm to 7pm, and on Wednesday 6 April, from 10am until 2pm.
Deputy city mayor Cllr Adam Clarke, who leads on environment and transportation, said: “These planned improvements represent a long-standing commitment to improving the Fiveways junction, which is one of the most confusing junctions for drivers in the city, and a continuation of our ambitious vision to encourage cleaner, greener, healthier and cheaper transport in and around Leicester.
“The proposals will help simplify the junction for drivers, make it a much less daunting proposition for cyclists and help make the area a more attractive place for people.
“It is a major investment that will help ensure this busy and important part of the city’s transport network is able to accommodate the predicted growth in that part of the city for decades to come.”
Kevin Harris, Chair of the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership Limited (LLEP), said: “The planned changes will improve access and link the city centre up with surrounding neighbourhoods. In doing so, it will improve the local environment, as well as availability of e-bikes, public transport and walking routes. All of this supports the LLEP’s strategic focus on sustainability as part of the region’s economic growth.”
Letters have been delivered to over 2,600 residents and businesses in the immediate area inviting their comments on the proposed scheme.