Work starts on cutting Kirkcaldy’s Esplanade dual carriageway to single road

�1.6m project to reduce dual carriageway on Kirkcaldy Esplanade starts (Pic: Fife Free Press)
�1.6m project to reduce dual carriageway on Kirkcaldy Esplanade starts (Pic: Fife Free Press)

One of the biggest projects in Kirkcaldy town centre is underway.

The Waterfront Regeneration Project will cut the dual carriageway on the Esplanade to a single two-way road.

Kirkcaldy Esplanade - proposed new look

Kirkcaldy Esplanade - proposed new look

The £1.6m Fife Council initiative will also create new parking bays to encourage people to stop in the town centre.

And it will provide more public spaces, outdoor seating, and the facility to host pop-up businesses.

Viewing platforms will also be added to the waterfront.

The contractor moved in on Sunday, and work has already started to remove the central divide, with diggers in place reducving it to rubble outside Kirkcaldy Leisure Centre.

Pic: fife Free Press

Pic: fife Free Press

One lane either side has already been coned off.

The work is expected to last up to 52 weeks, and it will be done in phases to minimise disruption.

A car park on the Esplanade will also be closed to accommodate the contractor’s equipment.

The launch of the work was welcomed by Councillor Neil Crooks, convener of Kirkcaldy area committee.

Pic: Fife Free Press

Pic: Fife Free Press

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He said: “Unfortunately, over time Kirkcaldy town centre has turned its back on the coastline.

“ This exciting project has been a long time in the making and looks to capitalise on one of the town’s greatest assets once more – its views over the Forth. “

He said people were supportive of the need to fully develop the waterfront “to unleash its full potential and attract future investment into the town.”

He added: “ As it is, the dual carriageway encourages drivers to by-pass the town centre.

“This project aims to encourage those using the Esplanade to make use of the spaces that are being created for pedestrian and social interaction instead.”

The project will:

r Re-establish the connections between the High Street and the waterfront;r

r Introduce a new road layout between Tolbooth Street and High Street junctions;

r Reduce the Esplanade to a single two-way road with the remaining road space being altered to provide more on-street parking and features to encourage more use of the outdoor space around key buildings;

r Introduce new pedestrian crossings at key points along the new carriageway to provide more pedestrian and cyclist friendly access;

r Construct raised viewing platforms with shelters and seating.

The blueprint has been developed with help from the Kirkcaldy Waterfront Group, Kirkcaldy’s Ambitions Partnership, Kirkcaldy4All, local residents and businesses.

Improved public spaces will offer outdoor seating and will be available for pop-up businesses and as spill-out areas for larger venues such as the Kings Lounge.

And the multi-purpose viewing platforms will offer people a safe way to enjoy the views of the waterfront as well as providing easier access for disabled users, prams and bicycles over the secondary sea wall.

The streetscape will be improved to make the area between the High Street and the waterfront more inviting.

Natural stone finishes will be used to match the existing streetscape at Redburn Wynd, Kirkcaldy Leisure Centre on the Esplanade, and Tolbooth Street.

New street furniture, planting, lighting and better signage will make the area more attractive.