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Cheshire West and Cheshire Council hopes gyratory plan will reduce congestion in town
PLANS for a new traffic management system in Northwich town centre will face the judgement of the public later this month.
If the proposals get the green light, a trial run for the new gyratory system will begin early next year.
Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) and the Weaver Valley Partnership believe introducing the gyratory could reduce congestion and improve traffic flow.
The proposal is for a one-way system in a clockwise direction along Chesterway, over Hayhurst Bridge, along Chester Road, over Town Bridge and along Watling Street.
A public consultation event will be held at Northwich Memorial Hall, in Chesterway, from 1pm to 7pm on Thursday, July 28.
Feedback from this will help shape the final design before a traffic order is advertised.
If this gets the go-ahead, an 18-month trial period will start in 2012.
Dave Thomas, CWAC highways engineer, said: “We would like to implement the experimental scheme in the New Year, past Christmas and sales time, at a lower trading time so it’s not impacting on traders’ peak shopping time.
“There’s no good time but there is a least worst time.”
The council’s main concern is to make sure it listens to what residents, shoppers and traders think of the scheme.
Mr Thomas said: “We need to be open and honest with the benefits and the dis-benefits so people need to come and see us on July 28. The majority of people will be winners but there will be some losers.”
The trial-run will also give CWAC and the Weaver Valley Partnership chance to see how the proposal will work in practice.
Mr Thomas said: “We can model it but it’s a bit like weather forecasting.”
Geoff Hope-Terry, chairman of the Weaver Valley Partnership, said: “For me the idea of a trial period is absolutely key as there’s a lot of issues we don’t know about – it’s the right way of doing it and we will learn from it.”
The council will look into solutions to congestion in Leicester Street, including the five-arm Leicester Street roundabout, when development begins on Baron’s Quay.
Clr Herbert Manley, CWAC’s executive member for prosperity, said: “We want to look at the movement of traffic now in Northwich as it is at the moment.
“We want to get the right systems in before we start development.”
Dave Thomas added: “We are looking at the big picture.
“At this moment in time Leicester Street and Leicester Street roundabout may be considered but the solution to that will come on the back of development.”