The cost of installing a new Toucan crossing on Bradley Stoke Way and implementing other measures aimed at improving pedestrian safety on the road was £50,000 more than originally planned, says South Gloucestershire Council.
Originally estimated at £106k, the total cost of the scheme now stands at £156k, according to a report prepared for a recent meeting of the Council’s Policy and resources Committee.
The package of improvement measures was drawn up by the Council after 3,932 people signed a petition calling for the road to be made safer for pedestrians. The community initiative was started after accidents on the road resulted in life-changing injuries to two children during 2011.
Councillors originally said the work would begin in March, five months after the petition was launched, but it took until June for construction of the new crossing get underway. The scheme was finally completed in the last week of September.
In an attempt to justify the 47% overspend, another Council report states:
“Because it was recognised that the scheme was urgent, construction commenced whilst final design and costings were [still being] carried out.”
It was originally agreed that the project would be wholly financed through Section 106 contributions allocated to the North Fringe to Hengrove bus rapid transit scheme but officers have now proposed that £64k of the costs be met using income the Council has obtained from road safety cameras (“Safetycam monies”), leaving £92k to be taken from the bus scheme.
Use of the bus rapid transit scheme money has been justified by including the construction of a bus lane on the northbound carriageway within the scope of the recent work. However, the new “rapid” bus route is unlikely to come into service before 2017/18, which means that the section of bus lane north of the bus-only entrance into the Willow Brook Centre will be little used before then. Currently, it is used by just one bus a day (Monday to Friday only) – the 7:15am 483 service from Chipping Sodbury to Cribbs Causeway via Aztec West.
The 30mph speed limit on Bradley Stoke Way in the vicinity of the Willow Brook Centre and Leisure Centre has been extended by 260m in a northerly direction (so that it includes the new Toucan crossing) and by 185m in a southerly direction (so that it includes the existing Toucan crossing south of the Savages Wood Roundabout).
A speedvisor warning display is currently in place on the northbound carriageway, just after the Willow Brook Centre.
The overspend is not the only one to affect South Gloucestershire Council’s road transport projects in the North Fringe communities. A newly-opened bus-only link road constructed to serve UWE and the new housing development of Cheswick Village (Stoke Gifford) ended up costing £420k more than planned and has sparked a row about where the extra money should come from.
Photo: Bradley Stoke Way road safety petition launch in October 2011.
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