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City Centre North

Closing Date : 17/07/2024

Opening Date : 11/09/2023


Name: Project Management Office


Overview of the scheme

Marketway is located in an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) and is within the Clean Air Zone boundary, as levels of NO2 in this area currently exceed legal limits. This scheme supports Portsmouth’s Air Quality Local Planand theLocal Transport Strategy by easing congestion and improving walking and cycling in this area.

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Planned improvements

Better bus journeys

This scheme introduces a new bus-only access corridor, to avoid buses getting caught in, and adding to, congestion in the city centre particularly along Marketway.

This is a popular route for many bus and coach services travelling in and out of Portsmouth city centre and to the Hard Interchange, connecting with train and ferry services. The proposal would improve journey times for thousands of passengers using these routes and will get them even closer to the city centre shops.

The works will start on Monday 11 September with planned completion in the summer 2024. Most works will be completed during standard daytime working hours (7.30am – 5pm). Over the duration of the works 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.

Throughout this time pedestrian access will be maintained to St Agatha’s Church and the shared use pedestrian cycle lane adjacent to St John’s Cathedral car park will remain open. There will be no pedestrian access between the Cascades Approach mini roundabout through to Unicorn Road. The pedestrian diversion for this route will run through Commercial Road. We will be working alongside The Royal Navy to maintain safe access to Unicorn Gate throughout the works.

Once complete the following changes will be made:

  • Introduce a 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.
  • Improving the landscaping in the area to make it greener and more pleasant.

City Centre North

The works will be completed in four phases with some overlap of phases 2 and 3:

Phase 1 – From Monday 11 September 2023 – October 2023

  • 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.
  • There could be tree removals during phase one. This is 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.
  • The next phase of the works will start between October and November when the new alignment for all traffic is complete.
  • We will be sharing an update ahead of each phase change.

Unicorn Junction

Phase 2 – Nov 2023 – April 2024

  • Lane closures on Unicorn Road.
  • The old alignment will be closed off and all traffic will be directed to use the new alignment.
  • Access to Cascades will be maintained throughout.
  • Works will be suspended between December 22 – January 2, 2024. The traffic management will remain in place during this time.

Unicorn Junction

Phase 3 – Jan – March 2024

  • Overnight closures with signed diversions in place.
  • Temporary signals in place.

Phase 4 – April – June 2024

  • Overnight closures for finishing works.

Works on Charlotte Street  – From Monday 29 Jan – May 2024

Once completed, outbound buses (buses travelling out of the city centre) can be routed 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.

This change will involve the removal of the pedestrian-only zone and replacing with a new road for buses and bicycles only, along with designated pedestrian footways.

New pedestrian crossings will be installed along Charlotte Street to make it safer to cross on foot and there will also be improvements to the street lighting.

The works on the road will be carried out during standard daytime working hours (7.30am – 5pm) in a fenced off space. Access will remain for loading vehicles and we will continue to work alongside businesses to accommodate deliveries. To minimise disruption, works on the footpaths will be carried out at night between the hours of 8pm – 6am, meaning that people can still access the Charlotte Street businesses safely.


Our consultation period was open from 17 December 2021 to 31 January 2022. The feedback we received helped us decide where to make specific improvements to this route, and how best to implement these changes. You can see the results of this consultation here.

A formal consultation for the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) for the proposed bus gate, bus lanes and associated waiting restrictions started on Wednesday 24 May for 21 days (closing date for receipt of representations was Tuesday 13 June).

More information on the (city centre) (bus gates, one way, speed limit and waiting & loading restrictions) (no. 40) order 2023 can be found here 

A full planning application to create the new two-way bus lane to the north of Cascades Shopping Centre was submitted on Wednesday 29 June 2022 and was approved Friday 9 September 2022. You can view the application by clicking here. 

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