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MetroBus work at southern end of Bradley Stoke Way to start next week

Posted on Sunday 26th February 2017 at 8:07 pm by SH (Editor)

MetroBus construction work gets under way at the southern end of Bradley Stoke Way, on the southbound approach to Great Stoke Roundabout.

MetroBus contractors Alun Griffiths have announced that they will commence construction of the final stretch of new bus lane on Bradley Stoke Way next week (w/c Monday 27th February). The work area is located at the southern end of Bradley Stoke Way between Great Meadow Roundabout (junction with Baileys Court Road) and Great Stoke (Rabbit) Roundabout.

Vegetation clearance at the site began several weeks ago and some of the work area (opposite the junction with The Worthys) has already been fenced off.

The objective is to widen the carriageway to construct a new southbound bus lane on the eastern verge of the road, starting from a point approximately 300m back from Great Stoke Roundabout.

Full details may be viewed in a plan of the work area [PDF, 1MB].

A Griffiths spokesperson said:

“We anticipate that these works will last for approximately three months. Initially, we need to complete some groundwork, removing topsoil and the embankment. Temporary traffic lights will be required over a period which shall remain intermittent throughout the scheme, with an overall duration not expected to exceed three weeks over the anticipated three-month construction period. These traffic lights will be in operation at off-peak times only.”

“Earthworks will be planned once trial holes have been sunk. The project manager may decide to delay the earthworks until a favourable weather window materialises, in order to minimise issues with mud on the road.”

More: Contractor warns of "noise and vibration"

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Ring Road viaduct closure set to cause “significant delays” for a year

Posted on Wednesday 22nd February 2017 at 9:29 pm by SH (Editor)

The two Bromley Heath Viaducts which carry the A4174 Ring Road over the River Frome.

Just when it looked like there was light at the end of the tunnel, with the end of the MetroBus roadworks finally in sight, commuters in north Bristol have been dealt a crushing blow with the news that a section of the A4174 Ring Road near Hambrook is to be reduced to 50 percent capacity (one lane each way instead of two) for up to 12 months starting in June or July.

South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) says the work is required in order to undertake essential maintenance on one of two parallel viaducts that carry the road over the River Frome between the Hambrook lights and Bromley Heath Roundabout.

The southern viaduct, which carries the westbound carriageway, requires work on: pier (support) strengthening, bearing and hinge replacement, drainage improvements, water proofing, parapet replacement, and concrete repairs.

A separate major project to provide improvements for cyclists and pedestrians using the bridge would also require closure of the southern viaduct for a year, if done independently of the structural work.

Money for the work will come from two grants already allocated to SGC by the Department for Transport; these originate from the Challenge Fund and the Cycle Ambition Fund.

After considering a range of options, councillors have decided that the work will begin in June/July this year for a maximum duration of one year, but with an aim to try to secure additional funding to accelerate the work programme and reduce the timescale. Both the essential maintenance of the viaduct structure and the improvements to widen the shared footpath for cyclists and pedestrians will be combined, which means that the total maximum time required on site would be one year rather than two.

The total cost of the work, when carried out over 12 months, is estimated at £5.9 million. Accelerating the programme, should additional funds be secured, would add between £0.8 and £3.7 million, depending on the timescale reduction required (ranging from 15 to 30 weeks).

SGC’s head of street care and transport Mark King said:

“The extent of the work requires the southern viaduct to be completely closed to all traffic for the duration of the project. This is because the removal of the worn out parts of the structure will mean it is too weak to safely carry any traffic until the maintenance is complete. During the closure, all traffic will be diverted on to the northern viaduct as other options would require a significant one to two mile diversion on to narrow roads.

More: Work will cause "significant delays and inconvenience" »

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Interactive exhibition at Bradley Stoke Library helps you ‘Know Your Place’

Posted on Sunday 19th February 2017 at 4:50 pm by SH (Editor)

Know Your Place touring exhibition at Bradley Stoke Library.

An innovative digital exhibition of historic maps and archive material is being staged at Bradley Stoke Library until the end of February.

The interactive KYPexplore exhibition features extraordinary images from archives, museums and heritage collections across South Gloucestershire and the West of England, giving visitors a unique insight in to the history of the places where we live, work and visit every day.

For the first time in one place, the stories of the people who lived and worked in the varied landscapes of the West of England will be told together – from basket fishermen in Oldbury to WWII evacuees in Thornbury, plus there are photographs and recollections of local memories such as tankers colliding on the Severn and a whale stranded in Littleton-upon-Severn.

The exhibition innovatively combines graphic panels, touchscreens and an online web app to present the archive material in an easy to navigate format. Visitors can take a closer look at familiar places to find their hidden histories and follow in the footsteps of the past, comparing historic and modern photos of familiar landscapes which illustrate how places have transformed over time.

The exhibition is also available online at www.KYPexplore.com

More: How you can help "put Bradley Stoke on the map" »

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Council’s U-turn means street lights will stay on all night – but not until 2026 for Bradley Stoke!

Posted on Saturday 18th February 2017 at 9:36 pm by SH (Editor)

LED streetlight lantern in Bradley Stoke, Bristol.

South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) has decided to abandon its controversial policy of switching street lights off at night, but it is likely to be 2026 before the lights in Bradley Stoke are returned to all-night operation, the Journal can exclusively reveal.

The decision has been made in the light of the increasing cost of GPS-enabled ‘node’ controllers, which the council began fitting when lanterns were converted to LED technology from 2014. The nodes provide very accurate part-night switching times and are GMT/BST aware, meaning that lights switch off (and on) at exactly the same times throughout the year. Traditional photocell controllers, in contrast, are not GMT/BST aware and introduce an additional variation of +/- 30min on the nominal switching times.

With the council not yet three years into it’s ten-year programme of converting all of its 30,000 street lights to LED technology, node prices have risen from £50 to £85 per unit while photocell prices have remained static at £10 per unit.

Although the price rise is more than cancelled out by a fall in the price of LED lanterns from £190 to £120, councillors have chosen to seize the opportunity to realise further savings by reverting to photocell control for all lamps converted during the remaining seven years of the LED replacement programme.

The previously experienced issues of inaccurate switching times associated with photocells will be mitigated by dimming the lights to 50 percent of full power overnight instead of turning them off completely.

By making the period over which the lights will operate at 50 percent output (i.e. 11pm to 6am) longer than the period over which they are currently switched off completely (i.e. 1am to 5am), the increase in energy costs and CO2 emissions will be minimized.

The council says it plans to start installing photocells in place of nodes in all lights that are converted to LED technology after Easter 2017. The photocells in these conversions will be programmed to operate according to the new dimmed all-night policy. However, it says it does not plan to revisit lights that have already been converted to LED technology since 2014 (including all those in Bradley Stoke) until the ten-year programme is completed in 2024. The altering of these lights from part-night to dimmed all-night operation will then take a further three years. If areas are revisited in the same order used in the original schedule, this would mean that Bradley Stoke’s street lights will continue to turn off between 1am and 5am until 2026.

More: Dimmed lights were technically feasible in 2014 »

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Future of town centre plot remains uncertain

Posted on Wednesday 15th February 2017 at 8:45 pm by SH (Editor)

Vacant land at Savages Wood Road, Bradley Stoke.

The future of a vacant plot of land bordering Bradley Stoke’s Willow Brook Centre remains uncertain, despite recent reports of clearance activities taking place at the site.

The 0.357 hectares (0.88 acres) plot, opposite the Tesco petrol filling station and bordering properties in Hornbeam Close, was previously allocated in South Gloucestershire Council’s (SGC’s) Local Plan for a health centre. However, the council says that following expansion of existing doctors’ surgeries in the area and a marketing exercise (in 2012) to determine interest from other health providers, it has been decided that there is “no longer a requirement for this purpose”.

Consequently, the council made a decision to dispose of the site and the Journal understands that it is currently considering disposal for a self/custom build scheme.

The site was most recently in the news in May 2014, when Bradley Stoke Town Council asked SGC if it could be used to provide temporary car parking spaces for residents of the nearby Brook Court ‘later living’ complex, which suffers from an under-provision of spaces.

Town council minutes from June 2014 subsequently recorded that: “SGC have confirmed that this piece of land is due to be advertised for development on the open market in the next couple of months. SGC anticipate that the piece of land will probably sell for about £600K.”

The removal of the allocation of the land for use as a health centre is confirmed in SGC’s emerging Plans Sites and Policies (PSP) Plan, which also shows the plot as being within the formalised Bradley Stoke ’town centre’, an area which extends to include Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre as well as the Willow Brook Centre. The PSP Plan will be the subject of an ‘examination in public’ during February, which is the final step before its formal adoption by the council.

Asked about possible future uses for the site, an SGC spokesperson said:

“The location of the land within the defined town centre of Bradley Stoke and lack of a particular allocation would not in itself preclude, subject to other policy considerations (e.g. design, highways access) being met, development such as residential or self-build units. Any application would need to satisfy all relevant planning policies.”

The spokesperson confirmed that there are currently no live planning applications relating to the site.

Image: Archive photo from 2012.

This article originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on page 3). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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