Motorists have been warned to expect delays as work got under way this week to make major changes to the road system in Lewes.
The project centres on the Commercial Square area where junction priority is being changed to improve traffic flow and air quality.
Air pollution levels in Lewes town centre are higher than other towns of a similar size and traffic volume.
One of the worst-affected areas is Fisher Street, where the pollution from the exhaust fumes of vehicles queueing there becomes trapped in the narrow canyon of buildings.
Now East Sussex County Council’s Highways department has started work to improve the flow of vehicles out of Fisher Street by giving them priority over traffic approaching from the direction of The Elephant and Castle.
This change was trialled during roadworks. It brought about a reduction in queue lengths in Fisher Street and also improved traffic flow from Station Street – another road which had been identified as having poorer air quality.
When completed, the alterations to the Commercial Square junction will be kept in place for an 18-month trial period.
The zebra crossing in the area will also be moved nearer to the junction with St John’s Terrace.
If the change in traffic priority causes major problems for drivers then the junction will revert back to how it was before.
The scheme was part of a two-day public consultation at Lewes Town Hall in October last year.