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SOUTH GLOUCESTERSHIRE: £30 million ring road plans

SOUTH GLOUCESTERSHIRE: £30 million ring road plans

Image: LDRS

Motorists could face three years of traffic misery on Bristol ring road after a £30million scheme of road-widening and “throughabouts” was unveiled.

South Gloucestershire Council has launched a 12-week public consultation seeking people’s views on the plans aimed at tackling congestion on the A4174 and stopping drivers using nearby residential roads as rat-runs.

Huge changes will be made to five major intersections on a five-mile stretch between Lyde Green and Kingsfield roundabouts, including ploughing lanes of traffic through the middle of three of them to create “throughabouts” or “hamburger roundabouts”.

More traffic lights and entry lanes will be installed, some trees removed and replaced, and land at the edges of the dual carriageway developed to provide the extra space.

No dedicated bus lanes are envisaged but sensors will detect when the vehicles are approaching to give priority, while improvements for pedestrians and cyclists are also included.

The roundabouts in the proposed project are Lyde Green, The Rosary (also known as Emersons Green), Siston Hill, Deanery Road and Kingsfield.

Feedback will help form a business case to be sent to the Government for approval and funding, with work expected to start in phases from next year and end in 2025.

The council says that although the scheme involves road-widening, the intention is to encourage “necessary strategic car trips” because the A4174 is the most suitable for commutes in the area and that it will actually improve air quality by easing congestion.

A lack of bus lanes will raise a few eyebrows after the local authority changed the road’s layout at the Hambrook traffic lights near the M32 in 2019 to comply with a government directive to tackle dangerously high nitrogen dioxide emissions.

That included removing the westbound bus lane to create a third lane of general traffic heading towards the motorway.

And last year First Bus managing director James Freeman, who has since retired, said in an open letter to Bristol residents that the £230million of public money spent on metrobus had been “largely wasted” because services were getting stuck in roadworks and gridlock.

Many of the delays were blamed on traffic chaos in large parts of the city’s “northern fringe” in South Gloucestershire, from Filton, Patchway and Bradley Stoke around the ring road to Emersons Green and down the M32.

The council says the latest plans will “help the flow of public transport through improved junction performance”.

Cabinet member for regeneration, environment and strategic infrastructure Cllr Steve Reade said: “We want to reduce congestion and improve air quality in South Gloucestershire so have explored options to improve five junctions on the A4174.

“The ring road is a key transport corridor in our area, providing a link between the A4 and Bath to the south and the M32 and the M4 to the north, and serves as a strategic route to avoid travelling through the Bristol urban area.

“It also provides access to a number of local residential and employment areas.

“This scheme is designed to encourage necessary strategic car trips to remain on the A4174, the most suitable road designed to accommodate longer distance car journeys, and to deter the traffic from rerouting through our local communities.”

The consultation documents say: “An important aim of the scheme is to relieve the high levels of congestion at the A4174 junctions during peak periods to improve air quality and help achieve the council’s carbon emission targets.

“It is anticipated that with no intervention, the congestion along the A4174 and on adjacent routes will worsen due to planned local growth in the area.

“The surrounding local roads, such as the A420, pass directly through environmentally sensitive areas, air quality management areas, such as Kingswood, and residential and shopping areas.

“Any additional traffic loading on these sensitive routes is inappropriate and against the council’s transport policies.”

The plans are part of a wider package of improvements to the ring road proposed in the West of England Joint Local Transport Plan.

Siston Hill, Deanery Road and Kingsfield junctions will become throughabouts, designed to improve traffic flows at junctions where most vehicles are travelling straight ahead.

What are the proposals?

Lyde Green roundabout will have the Westerleigh Road approach widened to three lanes from the Bristol and Bath Science Park while the southbound carriageway will be extended into the central reservation.

The road space around the junction will be increased to provide at least three lanes at all points, except for a four-lane section next to the Westerleigh Lane bus link, which will have a sensor to see buses as they approach and assist them joining the roundabout.

The pedestrian and cycle crossing will be improved.

The Rosary (aka Emersons Green) roundabout will be converted to a fully signal controlled roundabout and widened at each approach on the A4174 to provide four entry lanes.

The existing pedestrian and cycle ‘toucan’ crossing points will be retained and modified.

New additional links between the current cycle and pedestrian networks will be installed to the existing metrobus stop in Emerson Way.

Siston Hill roundabout in Mangotsfield will be converted to a signal controlled throughabout, with three lanes in both directions of the ring road, while the side roads’ capacity will be increased.

Another two lanes will be for traffic turning off the A4174 both east and west.

The existing pedestrian crossing and the access steps to the north of the junction will be removed for safety reasons.

The vehicle laybys on both sides of the ring road will be lost as they become part of the widened carriageway.

The revised layout will link in with the proposed changes to the Carson Link Road traffic signals to improve access to the Mangotsfield Sort It recycling centre.

Deanery Road roundabout at Warmley will become a signal controlled throughabout with the A4174 widened to three ahead lanes and an additional lane for those accessing the A420.

Traffic lights will be added to the westbound approach from Warmley.

The existing pedestrian and cycle ‘toucan’ crossings will be retained on the western route, along with the pedestrian and cycle underpasses beneath the north and south routes.

There will be a new retaining wall on the north-east approach from the north, with the existing cycle route being kept and modified.

Modifications on Baden Road, to the ‘no through road’ turning point, are likely to be required to accommodate the new road layout on the south-western side of the junction.

Kingsfield roundabout at Hanham will be expanded to include a throughabout while keeping Leisure Road as a give-way entry.

There will be three lanes in each direction through the junction.

The A4174 approaches will be widened to provide three ahead lanes, plus a dedicated lane for those leaving the ring road.

A left-turn bypass link will be created for southbound vehicles into Marsham Way, with a left-turn bypass lane between Marsham Way and the southbound A4174 exit from the junction.

This will allow traffic from Marsham Way to join the southbound ring road on a give-way basis.

The zebra crossing on Leisure Road will be upgraded to accommodate cyclists through a parallel crossing, which is used for segregated cycle and footpaths.

The pedestrian and cycle ‘toucan’ crossing on Marsham Way between Asda and the Gallagher Retail Park will be fully refurbished and brought up to current standards.

Other junctions on the A4174

The Wick Wick, Bromley Heath and Hambrook junctions are not included in this scheme because plans to tackle congestion there are part of a separate project.

The Dramway roundabout’s existing layout is predicted to cope with traffic flows.

The Wraxall Road (aka the Woodstock) roundabout is part of a separate, £6.9million throughabout scheme under construction.

The Hicks Gate roundabout is part of a separate package of works by Bath & North East Somerset Council.

How to have your say

The consultation is open now and closes on August 16.

Full details, including how to participate in “virtual event spaces”, are available by visiting https://consultations.southglos.gov.uk/A4174Improvements

Paper copies and alternative formats of the consultation documents are available at the Kingswood One Stop Shop or by emailing transportservices@southglos.gov.uk or phoning 01454 868000.

While people are encouraged to engage remotely, face-to-face events will be held at Warmley community centre in Deanery Road, Kingswood, between 5pm and 8pm on Wednesday, June 30, and at Emersons Green village hall from 1pm to 5.30pm on Saturday, July 10.

Words: Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporter


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