For the first time, innovative pavement has been constructed in Coventry city centre to assist blind and visually disabled people in crossing a new road safely.
The Tac-Grid scheme, which has an integrated live beacon within the tactile pavement, will be used at crossing points on a proposed two-way road between Westminster Road and the slip road at J6 at the A4053 Ring Road.
This free software (https://livebeacon.com/) uses Bluetooth to communicate with people, informing them as they are approaching a crossing point, its kind, and when to cross to assist injured users. Additional information, such as the location of the push button in relation to a managed crossing, may be programmed into the devices. The range of beacons will be expanded.
Coventry City Council’s Direct Labour Organisation worked on the new Western Link Road, which opened today (Monday, March 1), which included upgrades to footpaths, landscaping, and tree planting.
The proposed road is part of a £500,000 initiative by the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) and the West Midlands Combined Authority, funded by the Government through the Local Growth Fund.
The project involved approximately 2,800m3 of earthworks, 150m of new kerbs and drainage upgrades, and new footway and carriageway surfacing covering the equivalent of 17 tennis courts for the new lane, the slip road, Grosvenor Road, and much of Westminster Road.
The left turn into Grosvenor Road from the Ring Road slip road will be closed, allowing entry from Westminster Road, which will become two-way with a car turning point.
With the ramps and stairs already in place, pedestrians and cyclists will be able to reach the city centre through the Grosvenor Road subway.
The new two-way road was built to aid in the construction of the Friargate Masterplan’s western side, providing greater access to the residential and commercial developments.
It’s all part of a larger highway-improvement scheme being implemented as part of the Coventry Station Masterplan, which is worth £82 million and seeks to improve regional transportation and infrastructure.
Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration at Coventry City Council and a board director at the CWLEP, said: “Our work at the railway station to create a new car park, footbridge and transport interchange is really taking shape and the completion of this new road is another important step forward.
“This new road will support bus operations and better links to the transport interchange in future phases of development. I’m also really pleased that we were able to include a simple addition that will make it easier for people with a visual impairment to cross safely.”
Nick Abell, chair of the CWLEP, added: “It is great that the funding has been able to pave the way for the new Western Link Road which will help to alleviate congestion at a busy location in Coventry city centre.
“All these improvements to the city’s infrastructure will help to bring significant economic, social and environmental benefits to Coventry which is particularly important as we head towards UK City of Culture and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.”