The £9million Eastern Gateway scheme in the West Sussex town of Crawley has been completed by VolkerFitzpatrick on behalf of the County Council.
The £9million urban infrastructure scheme has improved links between Crawley town and nearby development sites by implementing walking and cycling improvements. This enabled the council to reduce congestion in the town centre and encourage sustainable travel modes via the enhancement of pedestrian and cycling facilities.
The street scene has also been improved by “decluttering” the highway to enhance the town centre’s visual appearance and using high-quality paving and landscape planting.
The infrastructure work is part of the £60m Crawley Growth Programme in the heart of Crawley town centre, which the council thinks will ‘unlock’ jobs, business space and home building in the town and provide an additional 135,000sqm of commercial space across the borough. Developed in the 1960s, Crawley’s town centre required significant investment to regenerate the area. VolkerFitzpatrick started to implement infrastructure improvement works in 2020 to enhance pedestrian and cycle access, improve town centre connectivity and update various public spaces.
As well as designing the layout of the project to ensure vital, underground utility and drainage systems remain unaffected by the works, VolkerFitzpatrick constructed new, 1.8m wide cycle lanes, as well as upgraded the existing footways using a mix of block and asphalt paving. New pedestrian crossing facilities have been introduced and the traffic signals and two major junctions have been upgraded, all whilst keeping access safely open to both pedestrian and traffic users. To keep disruption to a minimum, the works were carried out in several phases and resurfacing works on the project were carried out at night. The upgrades have not only improved junction efficiency but have also drastically reduced congestion in the town.
Diyal Nonis, operations director at VolkerFitzpatrick’s Infrastructure division said: “We are delighted to have completed much-needed upgrades to the outskirts of Crawley town centre within time and budget. Although there were many logistical challenges to ensure traffic disruption and restrictive pedestrian access were kept to a minimum, we are proud to be a part of the regeneration programme and know that residents will benefit from these improvements for many years to come.”
Duncan Crow, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Support, Fire and Rescue, said: “The results look superb and we would encourage people to try the new cycle lanes for themselves. This scheme has produced significant carriageway and highway infrastructure upgrades in the heart of Crawley and I would like to congratulate the project team and thank all our partners.
Councillor Atif Nawaz, Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development at Crawley Borough Council, said: “The Eastern Gateway scheme, part of the Crawley Growth Programme, has dramatically improved the town centre. The regeneration has enhanced our public spaces and created better paths, cycle routes and roads, improving connectivity for residents and visitors in this part of the town centre.”
VolkerFitzpatrick took steps to minimise its environmental impact by reusing existing sub-base from the project which was tested before being relaid. The business also engaged with nearby primary schools and the local community which included working with supply chain contractors from the surrounding area, providing employment opportunities over the course of the project as well as placing two apprentices and two trainees on site. Additionally, VolkerFitzpatrick sponsored local events, organised a charity football match and volunteers from the project helped clear river bank paths near Gatwick airport. The total Social Value spend on contracts awarded to local business and spend on local materials, plant and labour in the area amounted to almost £2.5million, 35% of the contract value compared to an industry average of 10%.
(Picture – VolkerFitzpatrick showing L-R Colin Bexley, project manager, VolkerFitzpatrick, Duncan Crow, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Community Support, Fire and Rescue, Marie Ovenden, the County Council’s Growth Programme delivery manager, Councillor Atif Nawaz, Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development at Crawley Borough Council, and Ayad Hassan from consultants WSP.)