22 November 2013

New Dials roundabout set to open

The new Seven Dials roundabout should be open and operating as intended this weekend (November 23-24 2013). 

Nearly all temporary traffic restrictions at the junction are expected to be removed.

Contractors still have to add a few finishing touches to the scheme, which should be complete on schedule on December 13.

Two large trees will be planted on the new traffic island and eight others on pavements.  A large Christmas tree on the island will be sponsored by the contractor Edburton.

Lead councillor for transport Ian Davey said:  “Thanks so much to residents and businesses for their patience.  Well done to council staff and contractors for getting it done on time.  I’m certain the area will look much better and be a lot safer for everyone, however they are travelling.

“The changes including the new trees and paving will help lift the whole area and enhance the Dials’ village atmosphere benefitting both local residents and traders.”

The £800,000 project has taken around nine months.  Various surrounding roads have been closed or partially closed in rotation, typically for three or four weeks at a time.

Changes have mainly involved creating a longer oval traffic island to replace a mini-roundabout.  Traffic engineers say this will mean vehicles from various roads will merge more gradually rather than converging on a single point.  Improvements are intended to benefit all road users particularly cyclists and pedestrians.

Other measures include removing street clutter and changing pelican crossings to zebra crossings to make it quicker and easier to cross.  Guard railings have been removed – a measure taken in many other locations in the city.  Nationally, experts say removing them does not reduce safety.

Sixty seven per cent of residents responding to a consultation backed the main changes.

The junction is one of the most accident-prone in the city.  Twenty personal injury accidents were recorded within a 25m radius of the Seven Dials roundabout between October 2009 to October 2012, resulting in 23 casualties.