We're still open, say High Street traders
Keynsham High Street is being closed to all traffic for an estimated three weeks for excavation works, as part of the major town centre improvement scheme.
This phase of the project, which started on June 28, will see the widening and rearranging of traffic islands at the Charlton Road junction and the construction of a contraflow cycle lane.
Traffic is being diverted along Ashton Way and Rock Road. Motorists are advised to plan their journeys in advance to avoid peak times where possible.
Bath & North East Somerset Council is reassuring residents and visitors that businesses are still open. The council says it is working with traders to minimise any inconvenience and is keeping them updated.
The Keynsham Independent Businesses and Traders Association stressed that, although members have been critical of the timing of the work following lockdown, they are still able to welcome their customers and are looking forward to the benefits of the scheme.
A spokesperson told the Voice: “We welcome the public realm improvements. We are open. The High Street will be open as soon as Covid distancing is relaxed.
“There are very few days that it will be closed during work hours, and work is being done at night if is in front of doorways.”
The council says the High Street will only be closed to traffic when necessary for the construction programme. Businesses and ward councillors have been consulted on the periods of closure.
The project began on June 1 with lifting of the existing paving and kerbs in front of the Methodist Church and laying of new materials. The section between the Post Office to Lloyds Pharmacy is now under development.
The scheme to revitalise the High Street is funded by the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership through the Local Growth and Getting Building Funds, administered by the West of England Combined Authority.
It is also funded by the West of England Combined Authority through its Love our High Streets programme.
Councillor Richard Samuel, B&NES council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economic development and resources, said: “The Keynsham High Street works are progressing on schedule. We can start to see how the project will rejuvenate the street environment and encourage trade.”
He said the latest phase requires excavation across the width of the street to install drainage.
“Unfortunately this means the High Street will have to close to vehicles, but I’d like to reassure residents and visitors that businesses are still open and please do continue to shop local.”
The council was awarded £1.5 million, through the West of England Combined Authority, towards the cost of implementing the first phase of public realm improvements in June 2019 to help create a better retail environment and support the local economy.
The project will deliver footpath widening and resurfacing, better signs, and cycling and bus stop facilities on the High Street between Bath Hill and Charlton Road. There will also be new street furniture, streetlights, landscaping and trees.
The scheme is also being coordinated with Openreach works to upgrade its existing broadband infrastructure to full fibre ahead of the new paving being laid. This will provide many Keynsham businesses and residents with faster, more reliable access to the internet.
The highway is only restricted during the existing road closure in place for social distancing or where a restriction is required by the construction programme.
The work is expected to take eight months. For more information on the plans and for construction updates, visit www.bathnes.gov.uk/keynsham