Sections of the main route into East Cowes are to be rebuilt and resurfaced next month.
The project in York Avenue, part of ongoing work by Island Roads to improve the Island’s highway network, is being undertaken early in the year when Covid restrictions are in place and so work can be completed before the start of the main tourism season.
The work is being split into separate phases to ensure as much of York Avenue as possible can remain open to traffic for as long as possible. In addition, the resurfacing element of the work will be undertaken at night.
However, the project also involves the strengthening of the highway foundations to make it more durable in the future. This requires fairly deep excavations which will mean each work section will require a 24-hour-a-day road closure for the duration of the phase with local diversions in place.
The scale of the work is also large with approximately 3,000 square metres of road being excavated up to a depth of over two feet (650mm) with some of the removal being done by hand given the presence of underground services in the area.
The project is due to get underway on March 1. The four phases of the rebuilding elements are expected to last a total of 64 days while the resurfacing is scheduled for six nights to be split into two phases – again to minimise disruption – at the end of the reconstruction phases. Resurfacing is currently scheduled for between June 2-9 shortly after the reconstruction though the actual dates may vary slightly depending on the progress of the reconstruction phase.
The aim is for the road to be fully opened over the May Bank Holiday while arrangements will also be made to ensure there is no impediment to polling in the local elections on May 6.
Island Roads construction manager Keith Gourlay said: “Residents and visitors will know that there are sections of York Avenue that are in great need of rebuilding and resurfacing. This work is intended to improve the road quality now and for many years to come.
“The strengthening of the foundations is a process that required some excavations that are best carried out during the daylight and when temperatures can be expected to be warmer.
“Because of their depth, it is not possible to safely re-open the road after each shift so as a result the closures – which we have sought to limit by phasing the work – will have to be 24-hour ones.”
Keith said that while the project was being undertaken outside of the main holiday period, working in the winter and early spring did make the project more susceptible to weather delays.
“We cannot control the weather of course but we will ensure we keep the local community and the media updated with the progress of the scheme. We have already held discussions with local elected members and we will continue to engage as we know this will be a project that will, because of its size and scope, have a local impact.
“But we do hope that any short-term local inconvenience is offset by the longer-term benefit of having the ride quality of this very busy gateway route improved.
“We would like to thank the local community and road users in advance for their understanding and co-operation.”
Details of the scheme’s progress will be given regularly by Twitter @Islandroads and via a dedicated page accessible from the homepage of our website here.