Skip to main content

City Centre road improvements mean bus-ness!

Schemes designed to improve bus journeys, walking and cycling across the city centre start work on Lake Road and Unicorn Road junction on Monday 11 September with planned completion in the summer 2024.

These works are part of the plans to improve bus travel and active travel (walking and cycling) across the city as part of the South East Hampshire Rapid Transit (SEHRT) project.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation at Portsmouth City Council said:

“These schemes will make bus journeys faster, more convenient and reliable. I look forward to seeing more people choosing to travel by bus, bike and on foot once the works are completed.”

Portsmouth City Council is advising residents to plan journeys accordingly over the duration of the works as there will be lane closures and occasional night works (between 8pm – 6am). Diversion routes will be clearly signed, with overnight closures advertised 14 days in advance through road signage.

Any tree removals during these works are in line with plans to replant more than double the trees removed across the city centre schemes, creating larger diverse green spaces and bringing nature back into the city.

Once complete the following changes will be made to Unicorn Road junction:

  • Introduce a new bus gate (a short section of road which only buses, taxis, and bicycles can use) on the new road linking between Cascades Approach and Unicorn Road (Cascades Approach extension).
  • Route outbound buses (buses travelling out of the city centre) through a new bus gate (a short section of road which only buses and bicycles can use) between Charlotte Street and Commercial Road North, east of Eden Street.
  • Install a new tiger crossing to the south of Unicorn Road (this is a crossing which allows people on foot and on bicycles to cross safely at the same time).
  • Install a new shared footway (a section of the pavement for both cyclists and pedestrians) between Cascades Approach and Unicorn Road.

The works will be completed in four phases with phase 1 planned to be completed between October and November this year. This will involve lane closures on Marketway and Unicorn Road.

Works during the lane closures will involve removing the existing traffic island on Unicorn Road at the junction to Market Way and the construction of a new all traffic vehicle alignment. During the lane closures there will also be improvements to the existing pedestrian crossing to become a tiger crossing.

All south-bound traffic on Unicorn Road will use the existing bus lane. This means cars and buses will be in the same lane as well as cyclists and private hire vehicles. There are no bus stops situated on this route to compromise the flow of traffic. Signs will be in place to remind vehicles not to overtake cyclists during the works.

Once complete the following changes will be made to Lake Road:

  • Creation of a new westbound bus lane for buses, taxis and cyclists between Lake Road roundabout and Cornmill roundabout. Two-way car traffic will still be able to use Lake Road.
  • Improvements to the existing roundabout to create safer and more direct crossing facilities for people walking and cycling. This will involve installing two “tiger” crossings (a zebra crossing with parallel cycle crossing, which allows people on foot and on bicycles to cross safely at the same time) and two “sparrow” crossings (a traffic-light controlled pedestrian crossing with a parallel cycle crossing).
  • New dedicated cycle paths along Lake Road with partial cycle segregation (using bollards) west of the roundabout.

The work will be completed in three phases with phase 1 on the northern side of the road planned for completion in February 2024. Between 11- 22 September, overnight closures will be in place during the setup of the works. This will include setting up temporary lanes and removing 16 existing parking bays on Lake Road.

Following these night works, there will still be two lanes of traffic with no parking. Works to widen the carriageway and divert utilities will also happen during this time.

New drainage infrastructure will also be installed to help reduce the pressure of rainwater overwhelming the sewers. This will aid the prevention of wastewater being released into the sea.

Winston Churchill Avenue will be signposted as the diversion route during this phase.

Once complete, all of these improvements will work together to make it easier for people to get to and from Portsmouth and surrounding areas by bus, bike and on foot. This will make it simpler for people to choose healthier, more active ways to travel, helping to reduce congestion and emissions from private vehicles and improve air quality, as well as promote physical and mental wellbeing.

Since securing £56m in funding from the government’s Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) in 2020, Portsmouth City Council, Isle of Wight Council and Hampshire County Council have been working on improving bus infrastructure, walking, and cycling as part of the South East Hampshire Rapid Transit (SEHRT) programme.

Detailed and up to date information on all the works ongoing or due to begin shortly can be found at,

You might be interested in