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  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways

Transforming Liverpool's Lime Street: a £14 Million Highway Improvement Project

In 2023, Amey won both the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) North West ‘Transportation Project of the Year’ award and 'Active Travel Scheme of the Year' award for our transformation of Liverpool Lime Street at the Highways Magazine Highway Awards, as well as being highly commended for a further four awards.

The awards recognise Amey’s best in class approach to innovation and design that benefits both the community and the local environment.

This project successfully introduced a wide range of changes to the highway layout, delivering long-term air quality improvements, creating sustainable transport facilities for all road users, and removing motor vehicle dominance to provide coherent active travel infrastructure.

Public realm areas have been enhanced using high-quality materials to create an accessible, pedestrian-friendly environment. Amey has provided modern, safe, inclusive infrastructure, befitting the iconic Lime Street train station and Grade-I-listed St. George’s Hall.

Liverpool City Council (LCC) commissioned Amey to provide a ‘concept to completion’ service to transform highway infrastructure on Lime Street, creating a new world-class public space and arrival point into the city centre, befitting the iconic Lime Street train station and Grade-I-listed St. George’s Hall.

Lime Street is a crucial area of the city centre that provides access to popular attractions, including shopping and business districts, numerous theatres, the World Museum, the Walker Art Gallery, and the Central Library.

The project was a key part of a wider programme known as Liverpool City Centre Connectivity, aiming to create safe, sustainable infrastructure fit for the future and help mitigate the impact of climate change.

Pedestrian access to and from Lime Street train station was considered onerous, with up to six lanes of traffic to cross, and the client wanted to remove this barrier, making it more attractive and convenient for pedestrians and cyclists. The reallocation of road space to provide active travel and public realm improvements was at the heart of the project.

Complementary network modifications were required to ensure the highway network would cater to future traffic demand. Effective integration of engineering and architectural design was central to this project.

Our Liverpool team provided project management, highways, traffic, and signal design services. We worked closely with our architectural partner, Liverpool-based BCA Landscape, and contractor, Huyton Civils, to design and deliver a fully integrated project.

Using dedicated local resources together with a well-established Liverpool City Council (LCC) relationship ensured we met all project objectives to deliver a new world-class public space and arrival point into the city centre.

From the outset and throughout the development of the project, public and stakeholder consultation was at the heart of the project, with seven public drop-in events held and over 10,000 letters delivered to shape the proposals and keep residents and businesses up to date. Collaboration with LCC’s press team ensured information updates and good news stories were regularly reported in local radio, newspapers, and on the client’s social media platforms.

Our transportation engineers provided traffic modelling and analysis of network improvement options, presenting data, evidence, and visualisations to demonstrate that our proposals would perform well. This information was invaluable in getting buy-in from those who were sceptical that a reduction in the number of traffic lanes could be achieved without causing congestion.

Throughout the design process, Amey liaised with Mersey Travel, the passenger transport executive for public transport coordination in the Liverpool City Region.

Our radical scheme transformed Lime Street, reducing trafficked lanes from six to two.

The repurposed space prioritised active travel, placemaking, urban greening, and a high-quality public realm. Two designated lanes were reserved for public transportation only. Extensive transport assessment and modelling supported our proposals. The finished scheme seamlessly integrated modern transport infrastructure with landscape architecture, public spaces, and artwork. The result is an accessible, people-focused environment that caters to all users.

Approximately 1 km of new, fully segregated, safe, and attractive cycle facilities are provided in the scheme. These were designed to be best in class and to the highest standards (notably Local Transport Note 1/20) and include dedicated cycle and signal-controlled crossings at key interchanges.

The scheme successfully expanded the renowned St. Georges plateau, providing an impressive 4,000 m2 of additional event space directly in front of the iconic St. Georges Hall. Through close collaboration with Mersey Police and government agencies, we seamlessly integrated innovative hostile vehicle mitigation measures into the design. These measures effectively safeguard event attendees without compromising the visual integrity of the surroundings. Notably, bespoke feature benches were designed to withstand heavy vehicle collisions, demonstrating our commitment to ensuring public safety during events.

The team worked closely with the local access groups, including ‘The Corporate Access Forum”, to ensure inclusivity was fully embedded as part of the scheme, particularly catering to those with mobility and visual impairments. Measures implemented included full segregation between cyclists, pedestrians, and vehicles, paving palettes that provide suitable visual contrast in key areas, and accessible bespoke benches (with appropriate surrounding space and back and arm rests).

The scheme also adopted the innovative approach of using “shared use columns.” These allow a variety of equipment to be mounted onto the same pole, including traffic signals, street lighting, CCTV, and wireless telecommunications. This reduces street clutter and increases the space for safe and convenient pedestrian and bicycle movements. These columns are now seen as best practices within the city.

As part of the council’s ‘grey to green’ aspirations, 32 street trees were planted to green the city, provide shade, and boost mental health and wellbeing. Following a successful pilot project with MerseyForest, a new sustainable urban drainage system was installed that directs run-off through the tree root systems, providing attenuation to reduce flooding, improving the quality of water, and providing much-needed water to the trees, thereby reducing maintenance requirements.

For the remaining two trafficked lanes, which are now solely used by public transport, HALO, an innovative, low-carbon recycled road surface material, was used as a sustainable alternative to typical hot-rolled asphalt.

As part of the Lime Street project, we introduced 0.73 km of new segregated cycle tracks, 0.52 km of widened footpaths, and 0.98 km of resurfaced carriageways.

The project provided five upgraded traffic signal junctions, including 21 enhanced

controlled pedestrian crossings. Drainage and street lighting infrastructure were upgraded using enhanced architectural lighting. Such infrastructure improvements promote sustainable travel, reduce congestion and associated emissions, improve safety for end users, and reduce maintenance.

The project integrates modern transport infrastructure with high-quality landscape architecture, public spaces, and artwork, resulting in a more accessible and people-focused environment that is inclusive of all users, including disability groups. Anti-terrorism measures were introduced to create a barrier around St. George’s Hall plateau, including new granite benches incorporating artwork spaced at intervals.

We used recycled materials where possible to achieve a low-carbon solution. Such measures contributed to the overall reduction of waste disposal and minimised the procurement of new materials.

Our methodology provided programme, commercial, and environmental benefits both during delivery and for future maintenance. The project was delivered without diverting underground services. We provided new underground infrastructure for future use to ensure protection from future excavations, including electric and water connections for future events within the public realm areas.

By simplifying the highway network and improving key junctions, the number of traffic lanes has been reduced, and the space occupied by carriageways has been narrowed without introducing traffic delays and queueing. The new highway layout provides safe and inclusive crossing facilities, public realm areas, and attractive, convenient spaces for end users.

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