11 weeks of roadworks start on Plymouth's Laira Bridge
DRIVERS face an autumn of traffic delays as roadworks get under way at Laira Bridge.
Less than a year after the misery ended for motorists using Gdynia Way, the second phase of Plymouth's Eastern Corridor improvement scheme kicked off yesterday with rush-hour gridlock.
And a council spokeswoman said the work would go on for 11 weeks.
The £19million first phase of the project opened in November last year after 18 months of major reconstruction in and around Gdynia Way.
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The work, being carried out by Plymouth Transport and Highways, will include changes to the junction of Finnigan Road and Laira Bridge Road.
The aim is to improve traffic flow over Laira Bridge and provide a better crossing for pedestrians and cyclists.
The council said the junction suffered from queuing traffic, particularly at peak times, and there were no pedestrian signals and only narrow refuge islands.
To help reduce congestion and improve journey times for people travelling over Laira Bridge, the right hand turn from Laira Bridge Road into Finnigan Road will be removed which the council said would "significantly" reduce waiting time.
The work will also see new signal-controlled crossings to be installed across Finnigan Road and Laira Bridge Road, meaning pedestrians and cyclists can cross safely.
Both crossings will link directly to the National Cycle Network route on Finnigan Road.
While access to the Faraday Mill industrial estate and other commercial areas in Cattedown will be maintained, traders say they hope they will not see the same effects to their business as the last phase of work.
In an effort to reduce the disruption, programmed maintenance work on Laira Bridge will be carried out at the same time.
This work, which aims to improve and prolong the life of the structure, includes re-waterproofing the bridge decking, replacing expansion joints, resurfacing the road and installing new lighting columns.
Cllr Mark Coker, the city's Cabinet member for transport, said: "This is a vital artery into the city and we're committed to making improvements that help motorists get around.
"The work on the bridge has to be done now or its condition will deteriorate further, which will require even more repair work at greater expense.
"It makes sense to co-ordinate the junction improvements with the bridge maintenance so there is a single set of works and future disruption is kept to a minimum."