ALL major road schemes in St Helens will continue during the coronavirus outbreak, St Helens Council has confirmed.

Up and down the country local authorities have suspended infrastructure projects as a result of the strict social distancing measures currently in place.

In St Helens, there are three major junction improvement projects currently underway.

These are the A58/A580 Pewfall junction on the East Lancashire Road, Haydock; A570 Sherdley Roundabout; and A57 Warrington Road.

St Helens Council said construction on all of these schemes are continuing with reduced workforces while practising social distancing.

“Adhering to government guidelines, the council will also continue to carry out all other essential roadworks – such as pothole and highway repairs; gully cleansing; and repairs to traffic signals, signs and street lighting until otherwise stated,” a council spokesman said.

“This is to ensure that the council maintain a fully functioning road network which the government have identified as critical infrastructure during the Covid-19 outbreak.

“St Helens Council’s Highways department is in regular contact with contractors and will communicate accordingly on any significant changes.

“The council is pleased to report a significantly reduced volume of traffic on the borough’s roads and would like to reinforce the message that travel should be for essential reasons only, such as work and collecting food and medicine.”

Earlier this week Unite claimed that highways maintenance workers – who are undertaking a crucial role keeping the UK’s road network open – are being prevented from following social distancing guidelines.

Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, said it understands essential emergency maintenance, such as filling potholes, needs to continue.

But it said that if all highways work was reduced to emergency work only workers could successfully socially distance, which would preserve their health and the health of their families.

Unite national officer for construction Jerry Swain said: “Highways maintenance workers are essential workers who play a vital role keeping roads open and motorists safe.

“That does not mean that social distancing rules do not apply to them.

“Highways maintenance employers need to make far greater efforts to ensure that social distancing is applied at work.”