Roadworks: Council admits it “needs to do more” to keep public informed

Temporary traffics lights on Stoke Lane, Stoke Lodge in January 2015.

South Gloucestershire Council has conceded that it isn’t doing enough to keep residents informed about the large number of major roadworks that are currently under way or planned across the district.

The admission came in a quarterly performance report submitted to the council’s Planning, Transportation & Strategic Environment Committee at the end of January which showed that public satisfaction with levels of traffic and congestion dropped from 45% to 41% over the year to September 2014.

In a section headed ‘key areas for improvement’, the report states:

“Our declining performance for indicators such as the satisfaction with congestion on our roads suggests that more needs to be done to help the public deal with increased traffic levels and frequent roadworks. A communications policy is needed to make sure that the public are fully aware of works that are about to be carried out, and also gives them pre-warning of any particular issues on the network.”

A section later in the report states:

“While our success in attracting funding for a range of projects on our roads is helping us build a robust infrastructure for the future, the resultant roadworks have had a negative impact on congestion in the area. Traffic levels remain high in the area and both satisfaction with congestion and actual levels of congestion have got worse over the past year. A communications plan is being drawn up to keep residents, businesses and members informed of our planned works and every effort is being made to avoid disruption, however there is the risk that things may get worse before they get better.”

An article in the January edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine revealed that major roadworks are planned in the Bristol North fringe area for every month of 2015 and details of ten major schemes were included, based on information published by the council and the planning application for the North Fringe to Hengrove Package MetroBus scheme.

Since that article was published, the Highways Agency has begun two additional sets of major roadworks – at junctions 16 (Almondsbury) and 17 (Cribbs Causeway) of the M5.

Both projects are being carried out as part of the Government’s Pinch Point programme, which forms part of the growth initiative outlined during the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement in November 2011. According to the agency: “Pinch Points provides smaller scale improvements that can deliver big returns by easing congestion and making journey times more reliable for road users as well as helping to boost local economies and drive economic growth.”

Highways Agency Project Sponsor Dave Stock said:

“At junction 17, we will be upgrading the signs and lining on the southbound off-slip to allow traffic to move towards the Cribbs Causeway area more swiftly.”

Work at junction 17 started on Thursday 8th January and is expected to be completed by the end of February.

Commenting on the work at junction 16, Mr Stock said:

“We are widening the northbound exit slip road at the junction which should reduce congestion and delays, particularly during the rush hour.”

“The scheme will have a positive impact on the M5 in this area as well as supporting growth in the surrounding area such as Filton Airfield and Patchway.”

Work at junction 16 started on Monday 12th January and the slip road widening is planned to be completed by the end of March.

During January, Bradley Stoke commuters were also affected by a series of roadworks on Stoke Lane in Stoke Lodge. In the early part of the month, three-way temporary traffic lights were deployed during improvement works at the junction of Stoke Lane and Amberley Road, causing long delays at peak times.

South Gloucestershire Council then began construction of a new zebra crossing on Stoke Lane south of the Painswick Avenue junction, which also required temporary traffic lights.

A third project on Stoke Lane, involving the construction of a zebra crossing south of the Dyrham Parade junction, was due to start on 19th January, but had not yet got under way as we went to print.

Photo: Temporary traffics lights on Stoke Lane during January.

Related link: Report to SGC’s Planning, Transportation & Strategic Environment Committee [PDF]

This article originally appeared in the February 2015 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine, 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.

Postscript #1 (4th February): South Gloucestershire Council has this week announced that Braydon Avenue will be closed to traffic for three weeks from Monday 2nd March to enable the construction of a raised speed table to replace the existing chicane priority narrowing near the Concord Medical Centre.

Postscript #2 (5th February):  Construction of the second zebra crossing on Stoke Lane, south of the Dyrham Parade junction, has now commenced.

Bristol North Fringe Roadworks in 2015.

Above: Prepare for a whole year of roadworks in 2015! (previous BSJ story)

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