Trail blazing CYCLOPS is launched at Chorlton Road
Colas have completed construction works on Area 1a – Chorlton Road in Manchester which features the first CYCLOPS junction in the UK.
This innovative scheme is one of the early phases of the £13.4m investment into the Manchester to Chorlton Cycling and Walking route being developed by Manchester City Council, the One Trafford Partnership, Transport for Greater Manchester and Greater Manchester’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner, with funding from the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Challenge Fund and the Government’s Cycle Cities Ambition Grant. The scheme is part of the Bee Network which will form the UK’s largest joined up cycling and walking network, covering 1800 miles.
Chorlton Road forms the most northern section of the Manchester to Chorlton Cycle route, and connects Brooks Bar junction to the off-road cycle tracks at Chester Road roundabout, which lead into the city centre. The route is already well used and is popular with commuters and students.
This section will link to the existing cycle lanes being developed along Stretford Road from Old Trafford by Trafford council, and the rest of the route leading to Chorlton Park through the centre of Chorlton.
The scheme features an innovative and trail blazing CYCLOPS “Cycle Optimised Protected Signals” junction, at Royce Road and is a UK-first. It is an “orbital cycle route”, designed to fully separate cyclists from motor traffic and providing more space for pedestrians, improving safety for all road users. The junction allows bicycles to approach from four ‘arms’ which converge onto a cycle track that completely encircles the junction. This means that bicycles
can make a right turn at the junction, protected from traffic, and can complete the manoeuvre in one movement, dependent on signal timings.
Key to the programme was causing least disruption to the traveling public and local residents. Colas developed a programme which delivered the works in small low impact phases, and were planned to progress with the flow of traffic, again allowing for the least disruption. Working on three smaller phases at any one time was a major factor in enabling Colas to reduce time on programme from the overall client’s duration for these planned works.
Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for the Environment, Planning and Transport, Councillor Angeliki Stogia, said: “The CYCLOPS junction maximises opportunities for safer cycling and walking in this area, while making the performance of the junction more efficient for all road users. As we gradually welcome Mancunians back to their city centre, we’re really looking forward to seeing this trailblazing feature becoming a landmark part of what is a well-used commuter route.
“This UK-first junction is a symbol of our desire to create permanent, high-quality cycling and walking infrastructure, which will support the long-term shift to active travel that we want to see right across the city.
“And it is only the latest milestone in our ambitious plans to invest in a network of safe routes for people travelling on foot or by bike. We’re continuing to move forward with our £79m pipeline of projects, which will enable more people across the city to make the switch to walking and cycling for their everyday journeys.”
Manchester City Council benefited from costs savings that were generated by Colas running two projects concurrently, through setting 100% recycling targets on Chorlton Road, and the sharing of management and facilities for both projects – Mancunian Way/ Princess Road and Chorlton Road. All materials excavated from the Chorlton Road project have been recycled and reused on the nearby Mancunian Way scheme.
A major risk to the project was COVID-19. The UK wide lockdown placed the construction programme under the potential risk of several weeks delay but, due to a collaborative approach with the client, Colas progressed the works under key worker status, and were able to accelerate works during an eight week period by taking advantage of lower traffic counts on the network and by implementing COVID-19 safe working practices across its operations.
Carl Fergusson, CEO Colas Ltd commented “This has been a transformative project for the city in many ways, and we are extremely pleased to have played our part in delivering CYCLOPS on the scheme, which is a first for UK cyclists and aligns with our strategy to expand our regional business in the North West, along with our greater involvement in the delivery of cutting edge technology to enable transport mobility.”