Main road to close as Burnley town centre shopping area improvements go ahead
Work is set to start next week on major improvements to one of the key routes into Burnley town centre.
A programme of public realm improvements will form part of a wider scheme to regenerate the lower St James' Street area and make it a more attractive “gateway” into the town centre.
The highway authority Lancashire County Council is working in partnership with Burnley Council to develop new wider, high-quality footways and carriageway along lower St James' Street, between Westgate and Hammerton Street.
The improvement works are the final phase of the Burnley town centre public realm scheme, and have been designed to match the high standards set in the rest of the town centre, using high quality natural materials and street furniture.
The public realm work is due to be completed by the end of March 2021.
At the same time essential repairs will be carried out on a bridge carrying lower St James' Street over the River Calder. The work to strengthen the bridge, known as The Brig, will ensure heavy vehicles can continue to use it.
St James' Street is a direct route into the town centre and the strengthening works will ensure that it can continue to support the local economy by ensuring good access for vehicles.
The work involves replacing modern concrete and stone widenings on either side of the original masonry arches to ensure the bridge retains the strength to support the road.
The bridge works mean lower St James' Street will be closed and diversions will be in place. The bridge repairs are set to be completed before the Christmas trading period.
Both schemes were due to start in March but were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Coun. Gordon Birtwistle, the borough council’s executive member for economy and growth, said: “Lower St James' Street is a major gateway into the town centre and these works will ensure that not only does it stay open for business as far as delivery and other heavier vehicles are concerned, but it will look the part as well.
“Further along St James Street the improvements to the pedestrianised area look great and present a clean, attractive, modern look to shoppers and visitors. At the time the work was done people asked when lower St James Street was going to get the same treatment and here it is.
“The public realm works will form part of the much wider Heritage Action Zone which will transform that area and inject new life into it.”
A diversion will be in place for vehicles via Active Way, Royle Road, and Brown Street, with a shorter diversion for pedestrians via Active Way, Orchard Bridge and Calder Street.
The one-way system on lower Brown Street, between its junctions with Brick Street and St James Street, will temporarily be reversed to allow a circulatory system to operate.
Buses will continue to operate as normal; however, two bus stops will be relocated from St James Street to Bethesda Street.
The county council has written to nearby businesses to make them aware of the work.
County Coun. Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "Our surveys have shown that the widenings on either side of The Brig need to be replaced to ensure the bridge retains its strength and prevent the need to introduce a limit on the weight of vehicles using it.
"We're sorry for any disruption to businesses and people working and visiting this area, but it's essential that we close part of St James' Street so that it can be carried out safely.
"We're grateful for people's patience while this vital work takes place."