MAJOR work to transform one of Havant’s busiest roads is due to begin next month – and traders are hoping the disruption will be worth it.
Around £600,000 is being spent on revamping Park Road North and Park Road South.
The scheme led by Havant Borough Council aims to improve safety for pedestrians, cyclists and cars, as well as provide a more attractive gateway to the town.
Work will begin in March on Park Road North to widen the pavement on the western side of the road.
This will reduce the road width and create a defined, single lane travelling north up the bridge.
Currently the informal road markings create two lanes of traffic travelling north. This could lead to a head-on collision at the top of the bridge with vehicles coming the opposite way.
A new shared pedestrian and cycleway will be introduced on the western pavement. The work is due to last four weeks.
Work is then set to start in Park Road South by April and will take 13 weeks.
It will include a new toucan crossing at West Street, new paving, and widening of the western pavement to allow shared pedestrian and cycle use.
The bus lay-by outside McDonald’s – a hotspot for illegal parking in Havant – will be removed and new water design railings will be built at Bosmere Pond.
Trader Wendy Lake, manager of La Bonne Baguette, in West Street, said: ‘It’s not going to do businesses in Havant any good – it’s going to be a pain in the neck.
‘But the trouble is they just have to do it. It could be worse. They could have picked the summer.’
Mrs Lake was unconvinced the changes would entice shoppers into the town centre, but applauded the council for improving the crossing.
The bulk of the cost is being met by developers’ contributions from Tesco following the rebuilding of the supermarket.
A council report states: ‘There will be temporary effects in terms of increased traffic congestion but managed properly these are expected to be minimal.’
It says the traffic capacity of the highway will not be reduced by the changes.
Councillor David Guest, Havant’s deputy leader, said: ‘It’s going to be a major improvement. There will be some short-term pain for long-term gain.’