UNPOPULAR CHANGES: Hambrook junction update
Unpopular changes to a busy junction on the A4174 ring road will remain in place a while longer before a decision is made on their future.
South Gloucestershire Council began restricting the movement of motorists at the Hambrook lights junction in August 2019 as part of an 18-month trial to improve air quality.
The restrictions are an attempt to comply with a government directive to reduce the dangerously high nitrogen dioxide levels to legal limits as soon as possible.
The council was due to decide whether to make the scheme permanent by February this year, but has been ordered to delay the decision.
The Government has told it to continue monitoring air pollution at the site while traffic patterns re-establish themselves after the disruption of the pandemic.
The council has not given any indication of how long that will take, but said it will provide more information when it has been done.
The changes to the road layout and traffic light signalling at the Hambrook junction are designed to improve air quality by reducing the time vehicles are stationary at the lights, according to the council.
They mean motorists travelling on the A4174 towards the M32 can no longer to turn right onto the B4058 towards Winterbourne.
Instead, drivers have to travel straight ahead at the traffic lights, go around the M32 roundabout and back onto the A4174, so they can then turn left onto the B4058.
The bus lane on the westbound side of the ring road through the Hambrook junction to the M32 traffic lights has also been removed in order to create a third lane of traffic heading towards the motorway.
And motorists travelling towards the Hambrook junction from Frenchay on the B4058 are now only able to turn left onto the ring road towards the M32.
Hundreds of people took to Facebook to share their anger and disbelief at the plans when they were first announced.
Six months after the changes were introduced some motorists described them as “a nightmare” and said they faced severe traffic congestion as a result.
A six-month public consultation on the changes ended in February 2020.
A spokesperson for the council said: “We have been instructed by Government to continue monitoring nitrogen dioxide levels at Hambrook junction as we return to more normal traffic and transport conditions following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.
“Traffic patterns were significantly disrupted by the various lockdown periods and the Government recognises that 2020/21 monitoring results can’t be used to assess the impact of the changes.
“Now this position has been clarified, we can look to agree the future format of the scheme and will provide further information on the next steps, including public consultation, when this has been done.”
Words: Amanda Cameron, Local Democracy Reporter
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