A two-month project to improve access to Aldershot railway station from the town centre is due to start today (January 20).
Footway improvement work is planned by Hampshire County Council at either end of Victoria Road, at the busy junctions with Grosvenor Road and Station Road, to make the street more pedestrian friendly.
It will involve re-paving the footpaths, realigning the kerbs and installing bicycle stands, as well as adding signs directing pedestrians to the town centre and train station and new traffic signals at the junction with Station Road to make it easier to cross the road.
The scheme is due to be completed on March 14, and the council says it expects Victoria Road will remain open to traffic throughout, although it may be necessary to close it for a short period for safety. Access to property will be maintained at all times.
A council spokesman said: “There may be some disruption caused during the construction period, but every effort will be made to keep this to a minimum.”
The scheme is intended to complement a previous scheme launched in Victoria Road in August 2011, and the red paving at either end of the road will be replaced by buff, cream-coloured paving.
Costing £402,000, the previous scheme was also aimed at making Victoria Road more pedestrian friendly. It was completed in August 2012, but has been much-maligned by those that use the road regularly.
The work, which took a year to carry out, was intended to decrease traffic on the road by 5% as Victoria Road was used as a ‘rat run’ by motorists trying to avoid other congested routes. It involved allowing only taxis, buses and delivery vehicles to use the area between Frederick Street and Gordon Road, reversing the direction of the one-way Gordon Road and removing two pedestrian crossings.
Taxi drivers criticised the scheme, however, saying it has made regular trips from the rank near Wellington Street take longer, deterring customers from using them due to the cost.
A survey was launched in October last year to collect feedback from those who use the road, and the results are due to be studied by the county council this month.
Councillor Charles Choudhary, who represents Aldershot West for the county as well as the Rowhill ward on Rushmoor Borough Council, said he was confident the latest work would be more popular, having had doubts about the 2012 project and asked the county council to reconsider the alterations.
“I think it’s a good thing to move on and improve the town,” he said. “Where there is money available to improve facilities for local residents I am happy to support it.”