Saturday, 27 July 2013

2. Truro Roundabout. Progress at bomb site. Police Station beside roundabout is to be demolished and retirement flats are planned in its place. Landscaping and 24 hour traffic signals.

L-R. Morlaix Avenue, St Austell Street, Tregolls Rd, St Clements Hill, Malpas Rd 

The original 30m high Leylandii tree had to be cut down
Truro Cathedral is in the background

Work goes on under arc lights through the night

Roadworks at Trafalgar roundabout in Truro, the busiest in Cornwall, are due to be completed by October 2013.  It is surprising there haven't been any crashes among the thousands of motorists who go round it every day.  It is hard to keep one’s eyes on the road rather than on the exciting developments.. CORMAC is currently digging deep holes for water storage tanks to alleviate drainage issues in the area. Huge machinery, piles of equipment and busy construction workers can be seen in the middle of the roundabout during the day. At night they use huge machinery to work on the main road, traffic islands, central reservations and pavements in the surrounding area.  People living near the roundabout are understandably losing their sleep.

The roundabout is cut back to make a new lane
The new lane is almost ready for tarmac

Tarmac in place 29 July 2013
Is that a Portaloo (in blue) for the roundabout workers?

Some of the new third traffic lane to-be has been carved out of the originally vast roundabout. When it is opened it will definitely improve the inbound traffic flow to Morlaix Avenue where traffic builds up at rush hours when drivers wanting  to turn right onto St Austell Street block the way of drivers headed for the Morlaix bypass. 

Former flower bed  on St Austell Street 
outside Halfords and the Catholic Church
 is forming an extra lane below

New lane facing the roundabout from St Austell Street
Access for pedestrians will definitely be safer with what the plans call a signalised pedestrian crossing between the police station and the petrol station on Tregolls Road. For years pedestrians have taken their lives into their own hands trying to cross onto the island between the busy dual carriageway on Tregolls Road as inbound and outbound drivers pass the roundabout and press on their accelerators in no mood to stop for pedestrians.  

The petrol station, a Shell garage, was closed down in April and demolished for a refit of the forecourt and shop. It will reopen in September. Drivers need their petrol and at the moment have to go to Sainsbury's at the top of the town or to Playing Place.The current devastation there all adds to the bomb site appearance of the whole. 

Truro Police Station before the roadworks
BBC photo

What is left of the planting outside Police Station

The Police Station beside the roundabout was built in 1974: the architect was seemingly inspired by the Russian concrete Soviet look. The building is now due to be demolished as it is no longer fit for purpose "in terms of space utilisation and energy consumption.” according to a spokesman of the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary.  Protests to preserve it for posterity were raised in the beginning, notably by indomitable Councillor Bert Biscoe.  The most extraordinary plans are afoot to build 50 retirement flats on the site by Churchill Retirement if planning permission is obtained. Drawings of the new development have strangely omitted trees or other planting for the site whereas there are silver birches outside the Police Station now. Trafalgar roundabout is an odd place for retired people to go and live, but perhaps they will enjoy looking at the 30,000 to 40,000 vehicles passing daily in front of their windows. At least they will have the new pedestrian crossing when they venture into town.  It is to be hoped the retirement flats will be double-glazed.

Flower bed on Quay Street, with Morlaix Avenue ahead

The Council's plan shows a new right turn into Quay Street across the Morlaix Avenue by-pass for buses travelling southbound on Morlaix Avenue.   It will be interesting to see whether this new scheme to improve bus as at the moment buses have to go on to the next roundabout and do an about-turn onto the other side of the by-pass before reaching the bus station. The new right-turn idea is a daring venture because drivers can currently get quite a nice speed up between the two roundabouts but when they have to slow down in the future to let buses cross over Morlaix Avenue in front of them the traffic flow will have to come to a halt on the by-pass.

The new right turn will come from the westbound Morlaix Avenue, opposite
through a gap in the central reservation into Quay St
 onto the right hand lane above 

River view beside Morlaix Avenue

Furniss Island is named after the old biscuit factory which relocated

This little park at  is right beside the by-pass and the river Allen. City workers like to have lunch there and it is a short cut towards the cathedral area. It was a favourite place for drinkers to congregate but alcohol is not allowed there now. 

Chough and bed beside Trafalgar roundabout

Truro in Bloom beds are on the same slope
Once the roadworks are completed landscaping will take place on the roundabout, including Indigenous broad leaf trees. Richard Budge, Truro City Council's Parks Manager and his team have to be congratulated on their usual high standards of flower beds in the surrounding area. Last year they won the South West Britain in Bloom Award, and judges this year will be taken  a different route to avoid seeing the Trafalgar chaos.

New pipes are made of more durable materials

The £2.25m scheme is being supported by the Regional Growth Fund and delivered for Cornwall Council by CORMAC Solutions Ltd, Wales and West Utilities and South West Water. Upgraded gas, water and sewage pipes have been re-laid and rerouted plus electricity and phone lines. 

 It is clear that meticulous planning and the orderly way the roadworks are being carried out will lead to improvements in traffic flow and greater safety for pedestrians. 24 hour traffic signals at all the junctions will also help drivers from the minor roads get onto the roundabout a lot quicker and more safely without having to make a dash for it. We can also look forward to the new Shell garage and the retirement flats which will surely look better than the ugly Truro Police Station.