12 April 2021
The contract to resurface the Tamar Bridge began as scheduled on 1st April. During the past few days the contractor, VolkerLaser, have been making preparations to install their engineering team on site and finalising detailed traffic management and health and safety plans.
Three traffic lanes will be kept open throughout the scheme, at peak travel times, to help minimise disruption to bridge users, with the south cantilever used as an additional traffic lane when necessary. This means that the south cantilever will be closed to pedestrians, cyclists and mobility scooter users from the evening of Thursday, 15 April. It will then remain closed until the completion of the project in September.
The need to carry out the majority of the works during dry and mild weather means that we cannot move the project to the winter months. It is also not possible to carry out the works solely at night as the lanes cannot be re-opened to traffic until the resurfacing has been completed. Working at night also introduces other issues, such as worker safety and noise. Using heavy plant and machinery at night would have a major impact on the lives of the people close to the bridge.
Traffic management arrangements will be put in place on the evening of Thursday, 15 April to enable Phase 1 of the project to begin on Friday, 16 April.
Phase 1 will require both the north and south cantilever lanes of the bridge to be closed to all users. The three lanes on the main deck will remain open to traffic. Local traffic from Saltash will be diverted from the north cantilever onto the main deck of the bridge.
Phase 1 is currently programmed to last until mid June. The North cantilever will then be returned as a general traffic lane for the remainder of the project. At the same time South cantilever will be opened to westbound traffic.
We are providing two free shuttle bus services to transport pedestrians, cyclists and mobility scooters across the bridge. These include a minibus and trailer service and a scheduled service using single and double-decker buses which is being run in partnership with Plymouth Citybus. This bus service will enable cyclists to remain with their bikes during the journey across the bridge.
The bus service will run 24 hours a day, seven days a week and the minibus service will run during the day seven days a week. Both will begin operating on the evening of Thursday, 15 April and will then continue until the works are completed.
The minibus service will run as an ‘on-demand’ service where customers will be able to contact minibus drivers via call-points located at both Pemros Road and North Road. Minibuses will be equipped with cycle and mobility scooter (up to Class 3) trailers.
The Citybus service will run every 15 minutes between 6 am and 9pm and every 30 mins in the evenings and overnight between the Saltash and Plymouth sides of the crossing. Details of the latest service information will be published on the Plymouth Citybus website, with updates on their social media channels.
Using these services will enable cyclists to avoid cycling through the heavy traffic on the bridge during morning and evening commutes, as well as reducing the interface between user groups.
We will be reviewing both services throughout the programme of works and will make adjustments if necessary.
While cyclists are legally permitted to use the bridge traffic lanes, the opening of the south cantilever nearly twenty years ago was intended to provide them with a safer alternative for crossing the bridge. In offering these services we are doing our best to replicate the improved safety provided by the south cantilever and so, for this reason, we would strongly encourage cyclists to use this option during these works.
While the crossing will remain open throughout the works, the traffic management arrangements and lane restrictions mean that drivers of ‘abnormal loads’ may be restricted during certain phases of the project. Abnormal load restrictions will be shared with hauliers via ESDAL2 and advanced warning signs will be placed at key locations on the A38 and the local traffic network, as well as on the main motorway junctions. Full details will be placed on our website which will also include a suggested diversion route for wide vehicles.
In line with current Government advice on travelling on public transport, people using both the shuttle buses and the Plymouth Citybus service will be required to wear face coverings unless they have a specific exemption.
Regular updates on the works will be posted on the Tamar Crossings website www.tamarcrossings.org.uk – and on social media channels, and provided to motoring organisations and the local media. This will include real time information of any traffic congestion or delays which will also be displayed on electronic messaging signs on the A38 and local roads.
Anyone with queries in relation to this work can visit the website where there is detailed information about the project, or email firstname.lastname@example.org with their message which will then be dealt with by our customer services staff during normal business hour.