£500K road to close for 18 months just a year after reopening

A road that cost over half a million pounds to redevelop will be closed for 18 months to allow for further construction, just 15 months after reopening.

Islington Council spent £510,000 on converting a section of Caledonian Road to a two-way road, according to a Freedom of Information request. The road reopened in December 2014.

But the new northbound lane will be closed for at least a year and a half while a new Institute of Physics building is constructed.

Councillor Paul Convery, who represents Caledonian Ward, said: “The construction will require some use of the highway, and more significantly the pavement. The effect of that will be to put that bit of two-way working into hibernation for 18 months, possibly longer.

“This is pretty imminent. It will be in a matter of weeks.”

The northbound lane will be closed to road traffic while it is used as a pedestrian walkway, a construction storage equipment area, and a parking area for construction and delivery vehicles. The remaining section of the lane will be converted back to a southbound lane for the duration of the construction.

The lane, which was also recently closed for gas mains replacement work, was converted using a grant from Transport for London (TfL). It was introduced to ease congestion in the King’s Cross area.

But local residents last year told the London Evening Standard that the road is now “putting lives at risk” and causing illness “from exhaust fumes and unbearable noise at all times of the day and night”.

Campaign group Cally South petitioned the council to revert the road to a one-way system, provoking an internal review by the council. Councillors concluded that residents and motorists would not feel the benefits of the two-way system while a one-way system remained in place on other streets in the area.

TfL is currently consulting on plans to make a number of other busy roads two-way, including Pentonville Road.

However, Councillor Convery admitted that road-users may face years of roadworks and gridlock in the area.

“It is likely that the Institute of Physics development will be complete right around the time that TfL will be ready to remove the gyratory system,” he said. “But we had anticipated that this would happen a lot earlier.”

Sam Monck, head of borough projects and programmes at TfL, defended the planned development: “The Islington scheme is an ambitious plan to transform the area and improve safety and reduce traffic levels, which potentially includes replacing the whole King’s Cross gyratory in the long term.

“Our Local Implementation Plan annual funding supports projects like this that improve road safety and local areas and we are working very closely with Islington Borough Council to address the issues raised by the local community.”

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