Buses and taxis in an Essex town are now using a specially constructed link road dedicated for public transport.
Built by highway services provider Ringway for the county council, the new route in Basildon serves a major leisure park complex and is equipped with enforcement cameras to deter private car drivers.
Essex County Council’s £750,000 scheme provides a quick short-cut from Basildon town centre to the Festival Leisure Park and is designed to promote access by public transport to the complex, which has had only a limited bus service.
Ringway Infrastructure Services completed the scheme under its framework contract with the county council for highway improvements, which was recently extended by Essex County Council for two years. The extension – up to 31 March 2012 – is worth £24 million, with the possibility of further target-cost projects across the county.
The Ghyllgrove Bus Link, which has been several years in the planning, opened on the last day of November. It connects an access road in the Ghyllgrove residential area to the dual-carriageway Cranes Farm Road that passes the leisure park. The county council purchased a strip of land bordering a town park from Basildon Council for the link, which is just 250m long but saves a 2km detour and up to 20 minutes for bus users at peak times.
Cylists and pedestrians also benefit from an upgraded path and improvements to street lighting carried out by Ringway as part of the scheme. A large number of utility services were diverted or lowered during three months of enabling works, while the main works were completed within a 15-week schedule.
Photo - Short cut: Essex County Councillor Roger Walters, Deputy Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, opens Basildon’s bus and taxi link
Buses and taxis must be registered to use the new road, which has digital cameras to monitor traffic as it enters and leaves the route. Motorists caught driving on the link road will be fined.
The two councils hope that the link will also lead to new direct bus services from Basildon’s train station, while boosting the local economy.