The latest stage of the £6.6m CHORD works in Helensburgh will start six weeks ahead of schedule, it was announced this week.
The news prompted Argyll and Bute Council to issue a statement saying ‘Helensburgh town centre is open for business’.
The controversial work is now scheduled to be complete in mid-March 2015 – the original target was mid-summer this year.
Renovation work in phases 3 (Colquhoun Street North and East Princes Street, from Maitland Street to Sinclair Street) and 4A (Sinclair Street, from West/East King Street to West/East Princes Street) looks set to be completed well ahead of the original Christmas forecast, so the second element of Phase 4, the bottom half of Sinclair Street, can now begin.
The old pavement and road surface has been replaced, with new lay-bys for loading, improved drainage – although the effectiveness of this has been heavily criticised – new parking bays and new street lighting.
The new footpaths are intended to be wider to make it easier for pedestrians to get around the town.
As a result, the road is narrower, which the council says encourages traffic to move more slowly and, as a result, makes the town centre safer.
Phase 3 is now complete, which will mean the re-opening of East Princes Street, allowing buses to return to their normal routes, with the remaining phase 4A work expected to finish by Friday November 14.
When these phases are complete and the roads closures lifted, 23 new on-street parking bays will be available to motorists, as well as the Sinclair Street car park, which is continuing to offer ‘first two hours free’.
Following consultation with retailers in the bottom section of Sinclair Street, contractors McLays have proposed to complete the works on the eastern pavement before breaking for Christmas on Friday December 12.
Works will resume again on Monday January 5 with a view to completion before Easter.