Herts County Council to close Dane Street and Station Road in Bishop's Stortford to make footpaths wider
Covid-19 is forcing further road changes in Bishop's Stortford town centre.
Herts County Council is carrying out temporary footpath widening in Dane Street and Station Road to improve social distancing.
During the work, which also includes carriageway marking, the roads between Hockerill Street and South Street will be shut from 8pm to 5am.
Householders affected by the closure have been told work could start imminently and continue until October 16. They have been warned to move their vehicles out of the cordoned-off area at least 30 minutes before contractors seal off the streets each evening.
Before the pandemic, HCC had proposed a new pedestrian bridge in Station Road. Last summer it said: "We are currently considering two options for a bridge which can provide both pedestrian and cycling access. The first option is to provide a completely new, separate walking and cycling bridge adjacent to the existing crossing, and the second is to improve the crossing facilities on the existing bridge."
In an update this week, the council explained its coronavirus measures: "Highway teams have been working closely with colleagues in public health to consider how we needed to adapt our roads and footways in key urban areas to support social distancing and enable our towns and their services to safely reopen, in advance of the lockdown measures starting to be eased.
"The Department for Transport issued new statutory guidance saying that local authorities should take measures to reallocate road space to people walking and cycling and that measures should be taken as swiftly as possible.
"The measures we have introduced are focused on providing space to pedestrians, allowing people to use our high streets safely, to queue safely outside shops and to pass each other at a suitable distance.
"A standard footway is typically 1.8m (5ft 10in) [wide] and so our approach does mean taking space away from vehicular traffic, and while we cannot force people to keep 2m (6ft 6in) apart, it's important that we provide the opportunity to enable this to happen."
Also, the council will be replacing temporary orange barriers with semi-permanent planters across the county to reinforce town centre social distancing measures already in place.
In Bishop's Stortford, these include the closure of South Street, from its junction with Station Road, to through traffic; barriers across Apton Road; and one-way traffic in Newtown Road. There have also been changes to loading and disabled parking bays in South Street.
The restrictions remain controversial. Ieva and Alan Wright, who run the Cake Box in Apton Road, say their trade has been decimated by the cordon across the junction with South Street.
The couple also have safety concerns and say they and members of the public have had to help shift the barriers to allow emergency vehicles through.