Two years of roadworks in Wolverhampton city centre will get under way in the summer after plans were backed by senior councillors.
A £5 million scheme to revamp the city centre, creating more pedestrianised areas and one-way systems for taxis and buses, was given the go-ahead by the cabinet of Wolverhampton City Council following a consultation.
Council bosses have promised to do all they can to keep traffic flowing but said they would be setting up exhibitions to show people how they will be affected. The council believes it can attract new shops, high-quality offices and 1,300 homes by pumping money into improving the look of the city centre and the flow of traffic.
Today it emerged that bus company National Express asked the council to change its plans to restrict traffic in Garrick Street, switching the direction buses could go from southbound to northbound, and asked that traffic in Queen Street be allowed to go eastbound only, which the council has agreed to.
But the council has thrown out a request for more bus stops on Market Street and Queen Street.
Councillor Peter Bilson, deputy leader of the council, said: “We will be having some form of exhibition so that these plans can be seen by members of the public. The work is anticipated to start in the summer.”
The biggest change will be in Princess Street, which will be pedestrianised from 9.30am to 4pm Monday to Saturday. Lichfield Street and Queen Square, currently used by buses and taxis, would become one-way, as would Victoria Street, but Lichfield Street will also get a cycle lane to allow bicycles to go against the flow of traffic.
The taxi rank, in Victoria Street, would be extended by three spaces. Under the plans, disabled people would be allowed to park for free on council-run car parks to make up for the loss of spaces on the street. There would also be resurfacing work and more seating.
Queen Square will be widened to allow it to be used for outdoor events. Exchange Street, which runs between the Natwest bank and Costa Coffee, would also be pedestrianised with parking spaces removed.
Lich Gates, by Barclays Bank, will be used only for funerals and church business with general car access removed. Parking spaces in Bilston Street, near Primark, will be scrapped. Traffic in and out of the Mander Centre will use Cleveland Street as the direction of traffic in Bell Street is reversed and the tunnel into Bell Street becomes two-way.