The final phase of a £12 million project to improve the public realm, traffic and pedestrian flow through Piccadilly, St James’s Street and Pall Mall has been officially opened by the Mayor of London.
FM Conway’s Civil Engineering Division has completed works on behalf of Westminster City Council to improve Piccadilly and St James’s Street with enhancements of the public realm and a change to two way traffic operation. FM Conway has worked as the main contractor on this phase of the project for the past 6 months. Works have included carriageway resurfacing, repaving footpaths with York stone, de-cluttering pedestrian pavements, better street lighting and a new central median strip.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said: “By providing more paving, ripping out superfluous signs and restoring two-way traffic for the first time in almost 50 years, we are rejuvenating a jewel in London’s crown. This will ease the flow of traffic and is a terrific example of the work we are doing to provide better and more attractive streets in the Capital that will inspire and delight anyone that uses them.”
The Piccadilly Two Way scheme is one of Westminster City Council’s ‘Living City’ pledges. It has enabled smoother traffic flow through the St James’s and Piccadilly areas, reduced congestion and provided a more attractive shopping environment, by creating a more accessible environment for both road users and pedestrians. De-cluttering work has entailed the removal of 51 lighting columns, 34 unnecessary signs, and over 825 metres of restrictive pedestrian guard rails.
FM Conway’s teams laid a mixture of asphalt and Guayana bauxite anti-skid for the carriageway surface and used York Stone paving on both the south and north side Piccadilly footways. The teams also reconstructed the central median using new high quality granite kerbs and paving. All the old lighting columns have been removed from the pavements and new columns were installed in the central reservations, together with a completely new ducting system for electricity cables. FM Conway also installed five new pedestrian crossings and CCTV columns for use by Transport for London (TfL) and the Metropolitan Police.
The works entailed several challenges, not least the significant scale of the project which involved up to 38 operatives from the Civil Engineering Division and a further 10 operatives from the Surfacing Division at peak times. Restrictions placed on the project by TfL required much of the surfacing works to be conducted during the night, while the necessity to keep access open to the shops on both sides of the road during the re-paving meant that work had to be completed in short sections with considerable stakeholder engagement.
Mark Allan, Project Director for Westminster City Council, said: “The Piccadilly Two Way Project significantly improves the street scene in an important and historic area. It will benefit residents, shoppers, tourists and those who travel through and within the area for many years to come. The quality of the work produced by FM Conway is fundamental to the success that this project has achieved.”
Grant Lemmon, Contract Manager for FM Conway’s Civil Engineering Division, said: “This scheme will be of great benefit to road users and pedestrians alike. We have worked hard to ensure that the project improves both the aesthetic appeal and traffic flow in this prestigious area. The original paving was such a mixture of modular slabs, pre-cast concrete and blacktop, and it just wasn’t in keeping with the stature and history of such an iconic street. FM Conway has used the highest quality materials, including granite and York Stone, which are as hard wearing as they are aesthetically pleasing.”
The first stage of the current phase of the project was completed in June 2011 and saw the reintroduction of two-way traffic along Pall Mall and St James’s Street as well as significant traffic layout and streetscape improvements. The second stage of this phase of the scheme started immediately after and ran up until the end of October 2011, when the project was completed with the opening of Piccadilly to two way traffic.