With Phase 2 of the Bedford High Street improvement works on track to finish ahead of schedule, the next stage of works on the east of St Paul's Square begins.
In consultation with businesses and restaurants in the area, the decision has been made to carry out this stage of works overnight only from 8pm to 5am. This started at 8pm on Sunday 19 September. It is expected that night works will be complete by the end of October.
During the works, the pavement will be widened creating more space for pedestrians, shoppers and visitors to St Paul's Square. Infrastructure works will also be carried out with new traffic signals being installed. The widened footpath will also be finished with the York stone paving now in place on the High Street, creating a matching attractive look across this area of the town centre.
With the footpath space being narrower while the works are carried out, the anticipated footfall during the day with more relaxed COVID-19 restrictions, and the operating times of restaurants and businesses it is hoped that overnight works will minimise the disruption caused.
It will also help to ensure that the works can be carried out efficiently, maintain the high quality of work seen so far, and provide a safe environment for the crews working and the public.
Councillor Charles Royden, Portfolio Holder for Highways said "We recognise that overnight works may cause some noise disturbance overnight, and we apologise for that. The Council and our contractor on this project, Henderson and Taylor, have done a letter drop to all businesses and residents providing information and out of hours contact details, and the noisiest elements such as slab cutting will be done before midnight and behind an enclosed zone to reduce the noise. So while you won't see anyone on site during the day, please be reassured we are still working hard to get this exciting and important project complete. This Transporting Bedford project has already seen great improvements on our High Street, with the single traffic lane, upgraded pavements with York stone, new trees and a more attractive street scene. We are seeing investment in our town centre through a number of different schemes including this, the Heritage Action Zone, and the Town Deal, looking ahead to the future of our town."
This project is part of Transporting Bedford, a project to tackle congestion hotspots in Bedford, funded by both Bedford Borough Council and £15.5M funding from the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP), through the Local Growth Fund and represents the largest ever investment in Bedford's roads. It has also helped secure an additional £1.76 million worth of investment from Historic England, backed by SEMLEP and Bedford BID, which will help improve shop fronts and bring unused spaces back into use.