Be patient and all will be revealed. That is the message to drivers and shoppers struggling to fathom the Fishergate free-for-all in Preston city centre.
County Hall experts say the controversial £3.4m Central Gateway scheme is now beginning to take shape and critics will get a much clearer view of what it is all about by the end of this month.
Workmen blocked off the top 20 metres of Mount Street, where it joins Fishergate, over the weekend to do essential resurfacing and will do the same again next weekend to complete the work.
During the closure Mount Street and the adjacent Garden Street were switched to two-way traffic, with pay-and-display parking suspended for the duration of the work.
And the first section of the Fishergate “shared space” will be completed overnight on May 28, allowing the first glimpse of how Preston’s main shopping street will look when the whole thing is finished.
A county council report said: “Once the road section has been resurfaced at the Winckley Street end, you will start to see a completed stretch of how the new scheme will look.
“We will then be doing an acid clean of the newly laid surfaces and using a coating to protect the granite from future staining and chewing gum marks. We will then start to plant the first batch of trees along Fishergate. The vision for the project is to create areas that are less dominated by traffic and friendlier for pedestrians. It is not about pedestrianising Fishergate, but will reduce the flow of traffic and create a more attractive, less cluttered ‘shared space.’
“The space that we are creating is all about creating an equal priority for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles and this will become more apparent especially for those on foot, when the road in fully narrowed, pavements widened, and an improved space with the introduction of street furniture and trees.
“We continue to assess the scheme on a daily basis to see how it is working for all users and are constantly making tweaks to improve the space for all involved in this interim period.”