Pathfinder House demolition will see ring road closed

HUNTINGDON S ring road and St Mary s Street will have to be closed completely to traffic on two Sundays next February for final demolition of the district council s Pathfinder House headquarters. The gable ends of the remaining 1970s speculative office bu

HUNTINGDON'S ring road and St Mary's Street will have to be closed completely to traffic on two Sundays next February for final demolition of the district council's Pathfinder House headquarters.

The gable ends of the remaining 1970s speculative office building are too close to the road to avoid risk to the public when demolition takes place.

But lessons learned from last December's removal of the first part of the three-wing building - which prompted storms of protest from town centre traders in their most profitable period of the year - mean the road closures can be on single, comparatively quiet trading days, maybe even the same day.

The eastern end of the building is close to Castle Moat Road. The western end abuts St Mary's Street, in both cases so closely that HDC will not take the risk of public injury.

The council's project director, Richard Preston, told The Hunts Post that traffic management details were still being worked out with Cambridgeshire County Council engineers, but promised disruption would be kept to an absolute minimum. Officials would shortly be contacting traders' representatives to discuss the details.

One possibility being considered is the temporary re-opening of the High Street to through traffic from the Old Bridge to Hartford Road, which would deal with all but access to properties in the Walden Road area of the ring road.

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"We learned a lot of lessons from demolition of the first stage, but it's still quite a challenge," Mr Preston said.

HDC expects to occupy the first building on the site in December this year, paving the way for demolition of the rest. Two huge machines will "gobble" the rotting concrete structure outwards from the middle, leaving only the two ends to trouble motorists.

The whole £23million project, which included a £6.4million depot in Latham Road, off the A141 in the north-west of the town, that was completed last year, is due to be finished in April 2010.

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