Olympic Torch Relay – temporary road closures
The Olympic Torch is coming to Southend on Friday 6th July – and local businesses and residents are being urged to plan ahead to ensure they don’t get caught in the crowds.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to line the streets when the iconic flame passes through the town as it makes its way to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, east London. A whole day of cultural events have been organised to coincide with the Torch’s arrival, the highlight of which will be a 2,000-strong choir singing on Southend seafront. Southend-on-Sea Borough Council wants to make sure as many people as possible get to witness the historic event while minimising the inevitable disruption it will cause on the day.
The Torch Relay will be passing through the town from 10.50am to 2pm at an average speed of 4mph, so in order to assist its progress a number of roads will be temporarily closed.
The Torch - which has already been relayed through the West Country, the Midlands, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland - is currently making its way down the east coast.
After travelling backwards and forwards across the country it will arrive in East Anglia at the start of July.
On Friday 6th July at 10.50am the Torch Relay will arrive at the junction of Rochford Road and Prince Avenue near to The Bell public house in ‘convoy mode’. It will then go into ‘Torchbearer mode’ and the first of 29 specially selected Torchbearers will carry it down Prince Avenue towards the Cuckoo Corner roundabout. It will then be relayed down Victoria Avenue and past the Civic Centre to Victoria Gateway before turning left onto Queensway.
The convoy vehicles will then continue to Southchurch Avenue but the Torchbearer will turn right into Chichester Road and then run alongside the Victoria Shopping Centre to the High Street. It will then be relayed down the High Street and onto Pier Hill before heading east along Marine Parade to a specially constructed stage on City Beach. Its arrival there at around 11.40am will be heralded by nearly 2,000 local schoolchildren and choir members. As soon as the flame comes into sight they will burst into song to perform ‘Anthem’, a piece of music specially commissioned to mark the occasion.
After a rest break for the Torch Relay crews the flame is scheduled to depart Marine Parade at 12.40pm when it will be carried west along the seafront to Chalkwell. It will then be relayed into Chalkwell Avenue and west along London Road, eventually crossing the borough boundary into Hadleigh, home of the London 2012 Mountain Biking event.
With the Torch travelling through Southend at an average speed of 4mph traffic delays are inevitable between 10.50am and 2.30pm. The Torch Relay will be managed on a ‘rolling road block’ basis by the Metropolitan Police supported by locally-based officers.
There will be temporary traffic halts at some main junctions including Cuckoo Corner roundabout, Victoria Gateway, Chalkwell Avenue and London Road.
In addition the following temporary road closures will be necessary to facilitate the event:
London Road (Dead End) – road closure between 8am and 1pm
Chichester Road – there will be temporary halt to traffic for a 5-10 minute period between 11am and 11.45am. This will involve temporary restrictions on the exits onto Chichester Road from the Quantock flats and the Victoria Shopping Centre
Southchurch Road (pedestrianised area alongside the Victoria Shopping Centre) – there will be a temporary closure for 5-10 minutes
High Street – side roads leading across the High Street will be temporarily closed for five minutes
Tylers Avenue and Alexandra Road – temporary 5-10 minute closure between 11.10am and 11.40am
Weston Road and Clarence Street – temporary closure for through traffic from 8am to 1pm. Access will be available to the majority of parking in these roads, which will be made two-way for the purposes of access for the duration of the closure
Southchurch Avenue – this will be closed between 10.30am and 3.30pm for emergency vehicles. Controlled access will be available for residents and businesses in this road.
Marine Parade – this will be closed between 7am and 8pm from its junction with Eastern Esplanade and Southchurch Avenue through to Western Esplanade east of the turn point with the Three Shells Restaurant. During this period there will be no access onto Marine Parade and its junctions with Hartington Road and Pleasant Road will be closed. These roads and Lucy Road will temporarily revert to two-way traffic so residents can gain access/exit via Herbert Road instead.
Pier Hill - between 7am and 8pm
All side roads leading on to London Road will be subject to short temporary closures between 12.30pm and 2.30pm with each closure being removed as soon as it is safe to do so once the convoy has passed and crowds have dispersed.
In addition to the temporary road closures it will also be necessary to temporarily suspend parking along some stretches of the route. This is to ensure that local schoolchildren are able to safely watch the Torch Relay pass by unimpeded. Further details of these suspensions will be given shortly.
Businesses are advised to avoid arranging deliveries between 8am and 12noon in the town centre and between 12noon and 3pm in the London Road area. Where taxi ranks need to be moved provision will be made for taxis in nearby locations. Temporary traffic signage will be erected to advise residents of the road closures and Variable Message Signs will be used to advise of potential delays.
Executive Councillor for Culture and Tourism, Derek Jarvis, said: “Friday 6th July is going to be one of the most memorable days in Southend’s history. We want as many of the town’s residents as possible to come out onto the streets to greet the Torch and become part of this fantastic event that is the London 2012 Games. At the same time we need to try and ensure the Torch Relay passes through the town as smoothly as possible. These temporary road closures will inevitably cause some inconvenience to residents and businesses but we would ask them to bear with us just for a few hours. This is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion and I am sure they will understand why we want to make the most of it as an opportunity to showcase the town. I urge everyone to make a careful note of these arrangements and consider how they might be affected by them on the day and make plans well in advance. I would also urge people to go and see the Torch at the point where it comes closest to where they live rather than travelling to other parts of the town. It won’t be possible for people to try and follow the Torch physically or to easily get ahead of it again once it has passed them. We would also like to ensure that there are crowds lining the entire route through Southend for the benefit of all the Torchbearers. My advice is to find a location close to where you live and - that way you’ll get a much better view of it than if you head for one of the more crowded areas in the centre of the town.”
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