Morlaix Drive scheme enters next phase

Work on the Morlaix Drive Access Improvement Scheme will enter its second phase from Thursday 24 February.

The scheme, which will see Morlaix Drive widened to allow the flow of two-way traffic, began last month with works at the junction immediately to the west of the patient drop off points and bus stops at the front of the hospital.

With these nearing completion, attention will now move to Morlaix Drive and Brest Road.

In order to carry out the improvements, Morlaix Drive will be closed to hospital (in) bound traffic from Thursday 24 February. It will however remain open to outbound traffic from the hospital.

In addition, Brest Road will be closed northbound for its entirety, all the way to Derriford roundabout. There will be no access for vehicles to Derriford roundabout from Morlaix Drive or Brest Road, although emergency vehicles will still be allowed to turn right from Morlaix Drive. Diversions will be in place for traffic travelling to and from Brest Road, Morlaix Drive and the hospital.

The closure of Morlaix Drive eastbound and Brest Road northbound will enable the teams to carry out most of the work required in the scheme and will be in place until December 2022, when the scheme is due to finish.

Councillor Jonathan Drean, Cabinet member for Transport, said: “I’m pleased that the teams are able to move to the next phase on the Morlaix Drive scheme, but I do acknowledge that for regular users of Derriford Hospital, as well as their hard-working staff, this part of the scheme will cause inconvenience for some journeys..

“I’m afraid there is no alternative in terms of the traffic management and we have worked extensively with our colleagues at the hospital and in the ambulance service to ensure that we keep delays to a minimum.

“The finished scheme will bring the rewards of better traffic flow, improved bus reliability and more pleasant and safer journeys for pedestrians.”

The Morlaix Drive Access Improvement Scheme, originally scheduled for 2020 but delayed because of the pandemic, began in January 2022.

Morlaix Drive, on the west side of the hospital, is currently a narrow, 300m stretch of single carriageway that links Brest Road with the hospital itself. It is home to the Glenbourne Unit, the ambulance station, the Thornberry Centre and has an access into the multi-storey car park. It is, in parts, too narrow for vehicles to travel along in both directions.

As part of the scheme, Morlaix Drive will be widened to allow for the flow of two-way traffic, including buses, and an upgrade of the existing narrow footway to a shared pedestrian and cycle path.

Not only will this make bus timetables to and from the Derriford area more reliable, it will also ease congestion in and around the hospital and in time, hopefully encourage more people to use the bus to access the hospital.

In addition, some changes will be made at Brest Road where, at the moment traffic often queues at busy times of the day, and the opening of the Forder Valley Link Road later this year means that traffic movements and the routing of buses are set to change in the area in the next few years.

To help with this, the junction of Morlaix Drive with Brest Road will operate under new traffic lights and the northbound Brest Road entry on to Derriford Roundabout will be for buses, cyclists and emergency vehicles only.

Pedestrian crossing facilities will be upgraded as part of the project and a new shared-use path will be installed on Brest Road connecting to William Prance Road

Once works are completed, traffic travelling to Derriford Roundabout from Morlaix Drive will be able to do so via William Prance Road, which was recently upgraded as part of the Derriford Transport Scheme. Staff and visitors to the hospital will still be able to use Morlaix Drive and the southbound exit from Derriford Roundabout onto Brest Road will remain open to all vehicles.

The works will also include the planting of over 50 ‘specimen’ trees, ornamental plantings and bat and insect boxes along Morlaix Drive.

The Morlaix Drive scheme is being funded using £3.3m of funding already awarded by the Department for Transport through the National Productivity Investment Fund with the Council contributing around £1.6m.

More information can be found at plymouth.gov.uk/morlaixdrive