9 September 2015

Plans to improve the flow of bus services into Sheffield city centre from the south of the city are set to take a step closer

The Council’s Cabinet is set to give the go-ahead to purchase land for a new section of bus lane on Chesterfield Road at their meeting next Wednesday (16 September).

The proposals are in response to local people telling South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive that the lack of bus reliability is one of the main reasons why they don’t use public transport.

New schemes continue to be introduced on several Key Bus Routes (KBRs) throughout the city, including the Chesterfield Road, North Sheffield and Gleadless corridors. Together the schemes along these corridors will make public transport across the city more attractive leading to increased bus use.

Councillor Terry Fox, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport said: “The Chesterfield Road scheme will provide a faster, more reliable bus service for everyone and a really competitive public transport option. The additional highway capacity through this busy section of the network will reduce congestion and delays, improve conditions for inward investment and contribute to reducing vehicle emissions.

“Businesses on and around Chesterfield Road often suffer because of local traffic congestion. This scheme will help to improve access to local businesses and encourage economic growth by improving journey times along this important bus corridor.”

At present, the inbound peak hour bus lane on Chesterfield Road ends at the entrance to Heeley Retail Park. Cars, buses and other vehicles are delayed as traffic merges into a single inbound lane before the bus lane resumes just north of the junction with Saxon Road. Further delays are caused by the movement of traffic into and out of the side roads, particularly at Saxon Road.

It is proposed to create two continuous inbound lanes (a peak hour bus lane and a lane for general traffic) by widening Chesterfield Road into land fronting Porcelanosa, B&M Store and Lidl. Outside weekday peak hours all traffic will be allowed to use both lanes.

In total three plots of land on the western side of Chesterfield Road need to be acquired. The intention is to acquire by negotiation, but a Compulsory Purchase Order is being developed in parallel to ensure the scheme can be delivered by the end of 2017 and keep within the deadlines set out in the Sheffield Bus Partnership Agreement.

The improvements are supported by the Sheffield Bus Partnership, comprising First Group, Stagecoach, Sheffield Community Transport, South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive and Sheffield City Council.

The Chesterfield Road Key Bus Route is just one of the corridors being progressed to improve Sheffield’s public transport facilities. Improvements to the bus routes in the city include Penistone Road and Meadowhead, where significant benefits have already been seen.

Chesterfield Road carries, on average, one inbound bus every two minutes and with savings of over one and a half minutes per bus, this offers substantial benefits to bus passengers and other road users.

Subject to successful acquisition of the necessary land, the construction is due to start on-site by March 2016 with completion by March 2017.

Cabinet has already approved £514,000 for the development of this bus lane. The proposed works take the spend to around £582,000, which will secure the land and provide a full design to better estimate the likely total cost of completing this bus corridor.

The funding for the scheme comes entirely from the capital element of the funding awarded by the Department for Transport as part of the Sheffield Bus Partnership Agreement and Better Bus Area Fund.

The current estimated cost for delivering the whole scheme is around £4 million. If the cost remained at about £4 million, it is likely that some other schemes would have to be curtailed. However, work is continuing to reduce the estimate and give more cost-certainty. Additional funding is also being sought for the scheme.