A TWELVE-week project to refurbish the traffic light gantries at the Torpoint ferry is due to begin this month.

The work, which is being funded by Tamar Crossings and Cornwall Council, will be carried out in two phases with a break during the school summer holiday period, and hopes to get underway from June 17.

The steel gantries, which span the queuing lanes over the A374 at Torpoint and the traffic marshalling area at Devonport, contain the equipment and traffic lights used to control and monitor traffic into the queuing lanes and then subsequently onto the ferry slipways on both sides of the river. 

Following a survey which found that extensive areas of the protective topcoat were severely weathered, it was decided to re-coat the gantries at the first available opportunity to minimise the risk of corrosion and maximise the life of the structure.

The work can only be carried out during fair weather due to the surface preparation and curing requirements of the topcoats. Work is currently planned to get underway from June 19, with preliminary works to be carried out from June 17.

The first two weeks of each phase will involve the introduction of the traffic management measures and the removal of equipment from each of the gantries.

Work will then take place to prepare and re-coat the structural surfaces, rehouse cables and return the equipment before the power is reconnected.

The first phase – Devonport Gantries – will take place between June 17 and July 26. There will be restricted queuing capacity for the full period as designated queuing lanes will be closed to provide access and ensure safe working areas for contractors operating mobile elevated work platforms.

Traffic will be managed manually by ferry staff. This will involve marshalling staff sited at the front and rear of queuing lanes to direct traffic and co-ordinate call forward for loading to each of the ferries.

Organisers have explained that this phase is not anticipated to impact on traffic at Torpoint.

The second phase – Torpoint Gantries – is currently programmed to take place between September 4 and October 11.

Traffic will also be managed manually throughout the whole of this phase and lane queuing capacity will be severely restricted.

Andrew Vallance, from Tamar Crossings said:“Whilst we recognise that the reduction in queuing capacity in the lanes is likely to create increased congestion in the immediate vicinity of the works, and potentially impact on the wider local road network at certain times, these measures are essential to provide access for the works and manage the safety of the public.

“We will be working closely with contractors and key stakeholders, including Plymouth City Council, Cornwall Council and Torpoint Town Council, transport providers and emergency services throughout the project to keep disruption to a minimum.”