Concern Histon Road closure will hit nearby streets
Cyclists will still be able to travel along Histon Road in both directions when it closes southbound to vehicles for up to a year.
A meeting of the Histon Road local liaison forum heard updates on Monday (November 25) from the Greater Cambridge Partnership, which is responsible for the works, as well as bus operator Stagecoach and contractor Skanska.
Histon Road will be closed city-bound for up to a year in 2020 to introduce new cycle and bus lanes, while also making alterations to junctions and carrying out other works.
The southbound closure is expected to start in May, but the GCP has said it plans to wait until Highways England finishes work on the A14 in the affected area.
The official diversion will take vehicles via Milton Road, but Gohar Hayat, representing construction contractor Skanska, said he acknowledged some people would use Arbury Road and Kings Hedges Road instead.
The GCP’s project manager, Paul Van De Bulk, told the meeting those routes are “my particular concern” and said the situation would be monitored.
Mr Van De Bulk told the meeting part of the reason to close the road southbound instead of northbound is to encourage “modal shift” away from cars and onto buses and bikes.
He told the meeting that Milton Road’s bus lane would allow for easier access into the city using public transport, and that Histon Road would be open to cyclists heading in both directions for the duration of the works.
And he added: “This Histon Road scheme will, I sincerely hope, make a massive improvement for cyclists and encourage people to cycle in from the villages.”
Defending the partial closure, he said: “My feeling is that the proposal being put forward is the best way to do this, subject to us monitoring how it goes. But on paper it is the best way. The programme time is much reduced compared to if we conducted all of the works under temporary traffic lights. Under temporary traffic lights the main part of Histon Road would take almost two years to construct.”
Mr Van De Bulk also reiterated the GCP’s intention not to start work on Milton Road until work on Histon Road is completed – meaning approximately April 2021. He said those plans are currently due to go to the GCP’s executive board in autumn next year. The final design has not yet been completed, but he said he expects traffic will still be able to flow both ways throughout the Milton Road works.
Stagecoach’s Iain McMillan said the works do present “a problem” for services around Histon Road and the firm was on a solution after getting feedback from the public.