Liverpool City Council Transforming Liverpool's Lime Street: a £14 Million Highway Improvement Project

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The £14 million highway improvement project has transformed one of the busiest and most historic areas in Liverpool through the creation of a world-class gateway to the city with ‘best in class’ active travel provision.

Key metrics

  • £14m

    (million) improvement project

  • 10%

    boost in cycling traffic

  • 11,000

    metric tonnes of material recycled

In 2023, Amey won both the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) North West ‘Transportation Project of the Year’ award and 'Active Travel Scheme of the Year' award for our transformation of Liverpool Lime Street at the Highways Magazine Highway Awards, as well as being highly commended for a further four awards.

The awards recognise Amey’s best in class approach to innovation and design that benefits both the community and the local environment.

Read more here - Amey recognised for sustainable redesign of Liverpool Lime Street

Creating a world-class gateway to Liverpool

This project successfully introduced a wide range of changes to the highway layout, delivering long-term air quality improvements, creating sustainable transport facilities for all road users, and removing motor vehicle dominance to provide coherent active travel infrastructure.

Public realm areas have been enhanced using high-quality materials to create an accessible, pedestrian-friendly environment. Amey has provided modern, safe, inclusive infrastructure, befitting the iconic Lime Street train station and Grade-I-listed St. George’s Hall.

Creating an accessible and pedestrian-friendly environment

Liverpool City Council (LCC) commissioned Amey to provide a ‘concept to completion’ service to transform highway infrastructure on Lime Street, creating a new world-class public space and arrival point into the city centre, befitting the iconic Lime Street train station and Grade-I-listed St. George’s Hall.

Lime Street is a crucial area of the city centre that provides access to popular attractions, including shopping and business districts, numerous theatres, the World Museum, the Walker Art Gallery, and the Central Library.

The project was a key part of a wider programme known as Liverpool City Centre Connectivity, aiming to create safe, sustainable infrastructure fit for the future and help mitigate the impact of climate change.

Pedestrian access to and from Lime Street train station was considered onerous, with up to six lanes of traffic to cross, and the client wanted to remove this barrier, making it more attractive and convenient for pedestrians and cyclists. The reallocation of road space to provide active travel and public realm improvements was at the heart of the project.

Complementary network modifications were required to ensure the highway network would cater to future traffic demand. Effective integration of engineering and architectural design was central to this project.

Lime Street Seating

Collaborative design and active public engagement

Our Liverpool team provided project management, highways, traffic, and signal design services. We worked closely with our architectural partner, Liverpool-based BCA Landscape, and contractor, Huyton Civils, to design and deliver a fully integrated project. Using dedicated local resources together with a well-established Liverpool City Council (LCC) relationship ensured we met all project objectives to deliver a new world-class public space and arrival point into the city centre.

From the outset and throughout the development of the project, public and stakeholder consultation was at the heart of the project, with seven public drop-in events held and over 10,000 letters delivered to shape the proposals and keep residents and businesses up to date. Collaboration with LCC’s press team ensured information updates and good news stories were regularly reported in local radio, newspapers, and on the client’s social media platforms.

Our transportation engineers provided traffic modelling and analysis of network improvement options, presenting data, evidence, and visualisations to demonstrate that our proposals would perform well. This information was invaluable in getting buy-in from those who were sceptical that a reduction in the number of traffic lanes could be achieved without causing congestion.

Throughout the design process, Amey liaised with Mersey Travel, the passenger transport executive for public transport coordination in the Liverpool City Region.

Our radical scheme transformed Lime Street, reducing trafficked lanes from six to two. The repurposed space prioritised active travel, placemaking, urban greening, and a high-quality public realm. Two designated lanes were reserved for public transportation only. Extensive transport assessment and modelling supported our proposals. The finished scheme seamlessly integrated modern transport infrastructure with landscape architecture, public spaces, and artwork. The result is an accessible, people-focused environment that caters to all users.

Approximately 1 km of new, fully segregated, safe, and attractive cycle facilities are provided in the scheme. These were designed to be best in class and to the highest standards (notably Local Transport Note 1/20) and include dedicated cycle and signal-controlled crossings at key interchanges.

The scheme successfully expanded the renowned St. Georges plateau, providing an impressive 4,000 m2 of additional event space directly in front of the iconic St. Georges Hall. Through close collaboration with Mersey Police and government agencies, we seamlessly integrated innovative hostile vehicle mitigation measures into the design. These measures effectively safeguard event attendees without compromising the visual integrity of the surroundings. Notably, bespoke feature benches were designed to withstand heavy vehicle collisions, demonstrating our commitment to ensuring public safety during events.

The team worked closely with the local access groups, including ‘The Corporate Access Forum”, to ensure inclusivity was fully embedded as part of the scheme, particularly catering to those with mobility and visual impairments. Measures implemented included full segregation between cyclists, pedestrians, and vehicles, paving palettes that provide suitable visual contrast in key areas, and accessible bespoke benches (with appropriate surrounding space and back and arm rests).

Lime Street

Designing a low carbon, people-focussed solution

The scheme also adopted the innovative approach of using “shared use columns.” These allow a variety of equipment to be mounted onto the same pole, including traffic signals, street lighting, CCTV, and wireless telecommunications. This reduces street clutter and increases the space for safe and convenient pedestrian and bicycle movements. These columns are now seen as best practices within the city.

As part of the council’s ‘grey to green’ aspirations, 32 street trees were planted to green the city, provide shade, and boost mental health and wellbeing. Following a successful pilot project with MerseyForest, a new sustainable urban drainage system was installed that directs run-off through the tree root systems, providing attenuation to reduce flooding, improving the quality of water, and providing much-needed water to the trees, thereby reducing maintenance requirements.

For the remaining two trafficked lanes, which are now solely used by public transport, HALO, an innovative, low-carbon recycled road surface material, was used as a sustainable alternative to typical hot-rolled asphalt.

As part of the Lime Street project, we introduced 0.73 km of new segregated cycle tracks, 0.52 km of widened footpaths, and 0.98 km of resurfaced carriageways.

The project provided five upgraded traffic signal junctions, including 21 enhanced controlled pedestrian crossings. Drainage and street lighting infrastructure were upgraded using enhanced architectural lighting. Such infrastructure improvements promote sustainable travel, reduce congestion and associated emissions, improve safety for end users, and reduce maintenance.
The project integrates modern transport infrastructure with high-quality landscape architecture, public spaces, and artwork, resulting in a more accessible and people-focused environment that is inclusive of all users, including disability groups. Anti-terrorism measures were introduced to create a barrier around St. George’s Hall plateau, including new granite benches incorporating artwork spaced at intervals.

We used recycled materials where possible to achieve a low-carbon solution. Such measures contributed to the overall reduction of waste disposal and minimised the procurement of new materials.

Our methodology provided programme, commercial, and environmental benefits both during delivery and for future maintenance. The project was delivered without diverting underground services. We provided new underground infrastructure for future use to ensure protection from future excavations, including electric and water connections for future events within the public realm areas.

By simplifying the highway network and improving key junctions, the number of traffic lanes has been reduced, and the space occupied by carriageways has been narrowed without introducing traffic delays and queueing. The new highway layout provides safe and inclusive crossing facilities, public realm areas, and attractive, convenient spaces for end users.

Promoting active travel, driving economic growth, and improving sustainability

Active travel 

Since the scheme has opened, early indications show an increase in cycling along Lime Street (approximately 10%). It is expected this number will increase as the scheme has spurred further investment in Liverpool’s cycling infrastructure, with a further £16 million to be invested into 13 walking and cycling schemes across Liverpool, Sefton, Knowsley, Wirral, Halton, and St. Helens, ultimately creating a safe environment for cycling across the city.

Business case

The business case, which our team prepared and submitted to the Department for Transport, outlined several strategic aims for the project. These objectives encompassed the following: improving pedestrian connectivity within the city, managing traffic flow in the city centre, establishing appealing, safe, and direct cycling routes, and enhancing the efficiency of bus movements. The scheme exceeded expectations by delivering impressive results, including the creation of a new world-class public space and a gateway into Liverpool, accompanied by “best in class” provisions for active travel.

Economic benefits

Liverpool City Council’s aim is to boost transport links to further fuel Liverpool’s international appeal to investors, shoppers, and tourists with its visitor economy, currently valued at £3.6bn/year and expected to grow by 25% over the next 10 years. Previously, Lime Street was used for events, but it was not well suited to this due to the poor-quality public realm and dominance of cars in the area. Since opening, Lime Street has hosted several events, including a Remembrance Day parade in November 2022 and a Christmas market in December 2022. It is expected that Lime Street will be a hub for future events, generating economic benefits for the surrounding area and the city.

Net zero

Liverpool City Council’s Climate Change Emergency Declaration aims for Liverpool to be a zero-carbon authority by 2030. The scheme provides the facilities to encourage end-users to adopt more sustainable modes of travel and promote “modal shift.” This scheme provides safe and attractive facilities for cyclists that connect to the wider city centre cycle network of cycle lanes, allowing users to travel right across Liverpool via the new facilities at Lime Street.

Additional street trees and the new sustainable drainage system will further help reduce the city’s carbon footprint and address the impacts of climate change. During construction, we used multiple techniques, opting for low-carbon solutions, including the re-use of recycled material where possible. These measures contributed to the overall reduction of waste and minimised the procurement of new materials.


UN SDG 11 aims to make cities more inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. This includes an objective to provide “universal access to safe, inclusive, and accessible green and public spaces.” The Lime Street project has resulted in more space to host public events, a streetscape that celebrates our art, culture and history, and a landscape fitting for the St. Georges Quarter. Since opening the scheme, the extended plateau at St. George’s Hall has successfully hosted several events, including Remembrance Day and the annual Christmas Market.

Road safety

Traffic has been significantly reduced along Lime Street because of the reduction of the number of lanes from six to two. In 2019, the AADT on Lime Street was 9,218. This has been reduced significantly post-scheme implementation, with traffic on Lime Street being restricted to buses and coaches only. The area was also previously well known for congestion, which is no longer the case. Collisions in the area surrounding Lime Street have also dramatically reduced since the scheme opened, with no collisions since the scheme opened.

The scheme has resulted in a much safer environment for pedestrians by reducing car dominance. Wider, improved pavements and simplified crossings make it much easier to get about safely. The fully segregated cycle lane provided in the scheme is a much safer facility for cyclists traversing the city. Linked to UN SDG 10, the area is also a much more inclusive environment with fully segregated facilities for pedestrians and cyclists. This makes the environment much safer for those with mobility or visual impairments, eliminating street clutter and creating wide, safe footways.

Social benefits

The construction phase of the project utilised local suppliers and contractors, creating new jobs for local people, including numerous apprenticeships. Our team undertook social involvement days in local schools, explaining the Lime Street project and helping promote the construction industry, with the contractor donating IT equipment.


The scheme impressively delivers against five of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These are SDG 3 (good health and well-being), SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), SDG 10 (reduced inequalities), SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities), and SDG 13 (climate action).

As part of the scheme, a permanent air quality monitoring station has been installed on Lime Street. Since the scheme opened, this has demonstrated a good improvement in air quality. By planting 32 street trees, this has increased the biodiversity in St. George’s Quarter. The new sustainable drainage system attenuates and treats storm water, reducing the impact of potential flooding and poor water quality downstream. During construction, opting for low-carbon solutions resulted in the re-use of 11,000 metric tonnes of recycled material.

Overall, the Lime Street project showcases the harmonious integration of engineering and architecture to address the challenges facing society today while always complimenting and valuing our local heritage.


“I feel that the Lime Street scheme is truly the start of a new journey for Liverpool. As people arrive at our amazing home, they will now be able to step off the train and walk or cycle from the station into the heart of the city with ease and comfort. For me, it’s a real statement by Liverpool City Council. A people- (and planet)-first approach. The hub of a new network that will spread out to all corners of our region. Brilliant!” Simon O’Brien (Liverpool City Region (LCR) Walking and Cycling Commissioner)

“The whole area just feels calmer and like a place you want to be rather than get away from.” Simon O’Brien (LCR Walking and Cycling Commissioner)

“Amey’s engagement and work with Merseytravel have been extremely useful and productive. As expected with complex schemes, there have been numerous unforeseen and sometimes significant challenges, but in all instances, Amey has adopted a practical and positive approach, which has actively contributed to solutions being identified and achieved in a multi-agency situation. Amey have also been consistent in maintaining the momentum and liaison between contractors, clients, and the associated agencies to keep elements of the various projects on track.” Forward Planning Officer (Mersey Travel)

“The redesign of Lime Street was an extremely complex scheme, given the scale, the location and the considerable changes it involved. The disruption alone was hugely significant which required intensive stakeholder management. I’m pleased to say the quality of the work that went into its completion was exceptional.

“Now Lime Street is exactly what it should be – a gateway deserving of its historic surroundings, fit for the 21st century and a place we can all take pride in.” Councillor Dan Barrington Cabinet Member for Transport and Connectivity

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