There will be lane closures at Kirkcaldy Esplanade from Monday as a £1.6 million project to regenerate the town centre gets under way.
The dual carriageway Esplanade will be transformed into a single carriageway route as part of a year-long project to lure more people to the waterfront and breathe new life into the town.
Fife council said the work had been phased to minimise disruption, with the new single carriageway expected to complete by the end of January.
The local authority has clarified that the route will not be completely closed during the 12-week roadworks and that lane closures and traffic lights would be in place.
Funded by the council, the waterfront project has involved Kirkcaldy Waterfront Group, the Kirkcaldy’s Ambitions Partnership, Kirkcaldy 4 All, local residents and businesses.
Labour councillor Neil Crooks, convener of Kirkcaldy Area Committee, 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.
“People are supportive of the need to develop the waterfront in a bid to unleash its full potential and attract future investment into the town.
“Ambitious proposals were drawn up to encourage footfall and economic activity to the waterfront and the wider town centre.”
By narrowing the road on the Esplanade to a single carriageway, there will be more space for on-street parking.
It is hoped that by introducing new crossings, improved paths for pedestrians and cyclists, and seating areas, more people will be encouraged to use the promenade.
In addition, there are plans to bring cafe culture to the waterfront with spaces for outdoor seating and spill-out areas for venues such as the Kings Live Lounge.
Mr Crooks 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 first phase of the work will see the removal of the raised central islands on the Esplanade. While this is being done lane closures, temporary traffic lights and other traffic management arrangements will be in place.
The availability of some on-street parking in the area will be affected and the Esplanade car park near the junction with Charlotte Street will be closed to accommodate the contractor’s equipment.
Another project in the pipeline is work on the crumbling stairway at the back of the Kirkcaldy Centre, which was previously known as The Postings.
A contractor has been appointed and it is anticipated that work will start in January.
Mr Crooks said: “This work will completely redevelop the route between the High Street, Kirkcaldy centre and bus station.
“The existing stairs will be replaced with a slope and a new set of stairs to the right-hand side added as you walk up from the High Street.
“The contractor will use materials to match the design of the High Street so that it blends in seamlessly and improved lighting and new artwork will help to create a safe and attractive connection for visitors and commuters.”