Regeneration work is set to start next week on a £1m of improvements to a key route in and out of Hartlepool.
The work – which is expected to be completed by early September - will be carried out on Stockton Street between the Victoria Road and Park Road junctions.
The project has been designed by Hartlepool Borough Council’s in-house Engineering Department and is funded by the council and the Tees Valley Combined Authority.
The work will be carried out by Hartlepool-based firm Seymour Civil Engineering.
Not only will it improve the appearance of this key road, creating a much better visual impression for people arriving in the town centre, it will also enhance the connection between the Church Square/Church Street area – where an Innovation and Skills Quarter is being developed – and the rest of the town centre, which is on the other side of Stockton Street.
The wall that currently runs along the central reservation of Stockton Street – which creates a sense of separation between the Church Square area and the rest of the town centre – will be removed and replaced with a decorative surface.
Stockton Street will be given new paving and lighting and there will also be a new pedestrian guardrail between the road and pavement.
To enhance pedestrian movement between Church Square and the rest of the town centre, the current two-part pelican crossing between Church Square and Wilkinson’s corner will be replaced with a single crossing, so pedestrians will no longer be held up on a central pedestrian island between traffic light changes.
There will also be improved access to Middleton Grange Shopping Centre through the creation of right-turn entry into the shopping centre’s multi-storey car park from Stockton Street southbound – currently the only access from Stockton Street is via the northbound carriageway. The right turn will be controlled by sensor-operated traffic lights.
In addition, alterations will be made to the junction with Church Street and Clarence Road.
The northbound sliproad onto Clarence Road and the southbound sliproad onto Church Street will be removed and replaced with left turns at the junction traffic lights. This will be safer for pedestrians, who will no longer have to cross the sliproads in addition to the main carriageways.
The work will start on Monday, February 11, and throughout its duration a temporary one lane system will be in operation on Stockton Street between the Victoria Road and Park Road junctions both northbound and southbound, so drivers are asked to allow extra time for journeys along this route.
While the work is being carried out, Middleton Grange Shopping Centre and all the other businesses in the Stockton Street area will be open as normal.
Councillor Kevin Cranney, chair of the council’s Regeneration Services Committee, said: “Following the multi-million pound regeneration of Church Square and Church Street and with work nearing completion on the conversion of the former post office building in Whitby Street into a centre for the creative industries, the creation of Hartlepool’s Innovation and Skills Quarter is forging ahead.
“The Stockton Street improvements are the next step in Hartlepool’s regeneration and will much improve the appearance of this key route for people entering or leaving the centre of the town.
“They will also very much strengthen the connection – both visually and physically - between the Innovation and Skills Quarter and the rest of the town centre, helping to create a thriving route running right from the town centre down to what will be the redeveloped waterfront.
“We apologise for any inconvenience caused while the Stockton Street work is being carried out and we thank drivers and pedestrians in advance for their patience and understanding while we complete this next important phase in the town’s regeneration.”
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “Using money devolved to our area from central government, we’ve already invested millions in Church Square and Church Street, and I’m delighted that work is now starting on Stockton Street too.
“With our £588m investment fund, I want to ensure Hartlepool gets a fair and equal share. With this latest commitment, and our £20m plan to regenerate the Hartlepool Waterfront, we’re gradually giving Hartlepool the investment it needs.”