Major roads in St Albans city centre set to be closed to traffic from this week
- Credit: Archant
Major road closures in St Albans city centre are set to be introduced this week without prior warning.
At very short notice and in response to pressure from the Department of Transport, High Street, Market Place and George Street are all going to be closed to traffic as a temporary measure in order to support social distancing as COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are relaxed.
Herts county council will be closing High Street and Market Place to vehicle traffic from Tuesday and George Street from Thursday.
This process is taking place without normal consultation procedures as a direct result of the public health crisis and the problems posed by re-opening shops and other customer-facing premises.
St Albans South County Councillor Sandy Walkington has expressed his great concern that the alternative routes of Lower Dagnall Street, Spicer Street and College Street are already inadequate for current traffic flows without additional traffic diverting from George Street.
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“The whole process feels a bit ‘back-of-an-envelope’ like so much of the response to coronavirus,” said Cllr Walkington.
“It seems likely that St Albans School is not re-opening until September so school buses and traffic will not be an issue until then. But it is then likely that fewer pupils will use the buses and more will come by private car. This will also need to be managed and a lot of thinking will be needed as to how best to manage this.”
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Cllr Walkington said large delivery lorries and construction traffic are particularly concerning – especially if they come down Lower Dagnall Street and try to turn into Spicer Street.
He has also asked for reassurance about how the junction of Verulam Road and Folly Lane will be handled to deter through traffic from heading up Verulam Road to a dead end. The plan is for both to have clear signage and also a ‘chicane’ at that point to deter traffic.
County council officers are emphasising that this will be a ‘dynamic’ process and that they will welcome all feedback on how it does or does not work so that adjustments can be made as necessary.