Diversions at ready for big sewer works

Lancaster Bus Station and taxi rank on Damside Street.
Lancaster Bus Station and taxi rank on Damside Street.

An £18m sewer upgrade in Lancaster will last two years and cause road closures and diversions in the city centre.

The work to upgrade the city’s Victorian sewer system and improve water quality in the River Lune will also result in the relocation of the taxi rank in Damside Street to Dalton Square.

Taxi drivers have slammed the move, saying it will result in the loss of an integrated transport system in the city, and severely reduce trade for 
Hackney Carriage drivers.

Half of the bus station will also close, with some services moving to Wood Street car park across the road, and night time services in Chapel Street.

United Utilities is expecting to start the work on February 24, with the digging of new 20m deep underground sewage storage tanks at the bus station due to start in April.

Storage tanks will also be constructed at the car park outside Currys and Halfords in Parliament Street, with new pipework to be laid across the city, allowing the sewers to hold more storm water instead of overflowing.

The water company said the improvements would help protect the environment by preventing any overflows entering the Lune.

Project manager Dawn Harrington said: “We’ve talked to a lot of people about the best way to do this and now have a programme that aims to minimise disruption.

“There’s never going to be a good time to do work like this in a popular town like Lancaster, but by liaising with as many people as possible, we have done our best to ease the strain.

“Construction is being timed with the agreement of the

Environment Agency, Lancaster City Council and Lancashire Highways Agency to try to minimise disruption.”

Some of the changes to the road layout will include the part removal of the cyclepath outside The Green Ayre Wetherspoons off North Road, to allow access for vehicles to the St Nicholas Arcades car park from North Road.

Exit from the car park would be via Great John Street only.

United Utilities said traffic may have to be controlled with temporary lights at certain locations, but the firm has pledged to work closely with Lancaster Chamber of Commerce, the taxi drivers and bus firm Stagecoach.

There is also provision for drop off and pick up at Wood Street for taxis between 11.30pm and 6.30am.

A spokeswoman for Stagecoach said the first phase of the work will see the closure of the south side of the bus station.

“All the core services would be merged onto one side of the bus station,” the spokeswoman said.

“The less busy routes will go onto Wood Street car park,” she added.

The work is due to be fully completed by spring 2015.