MetroBus construction off to a troubled start

MetroBus build: Modified road sign on the southbound A38 at at Aztec West.

Construction of the North Fringe to Hengrove Package MetroBus scheme in Bradley Stoke got off to a troubled start during the first week of September, with a road closure and diversions being implemented ahead of the advertised time and complaints about confusing and inconsistent road signage on the approach into Bradley Stoke from the southbound A38.

The closure of a short section of Woodlands Lane between its junctions with Bradley Stoke Way and Ash Ridge Road was advertised as starting on 2nd September, with contractors Alun Griffiths telling the local media that the closure would be “put in place after the evening rush hour, so from 7pm onwards”. However, road users were surprised to find the road already closed at midday, a change which Griffiths attributed to a council instruction to bring forward the start time to after the morning rush hour, in order to gauge how the new light timings and the diversions would work.

Signage on the A38 southbound approach to the Aztec West Roundabout, where the number of lanes available to traffic heading for Bradley Stoke was reduced from two to one, immediately came under fire from motorists, who complained that existing signage and road markings had not been altered to be consistent with the new lane definitions shown on temporary signs.

With the left lane of Bradley Stoke Way coned off, motorists obeying the temporary signs and using lane 1 on the A38 were brought into conflict with those incorrectly using lane 2 (now designated A38 only) attempting to make the left turn into Bradley Stoke, resulting in much horn tooting and impolite gesturing.

To add to the overall confusion, diversion signs erected on Woodlands Lane to show the alternative route for reaching Bradley Stoke Way displayed “Great Stoke Way” rather than “Bradley Stoke Way”.

As the first week wore on, motorists who had to endure lengthy queues at peak times along the diversion route (in particular Pear Tree Road), voiced frustration that no work appeared to be taking place within the closed-off section of Woodlands Lane.

We put all the issues raised by readers to Griffiths, and they promised to provide a response in time for this magazine, but nothing had been received by the time that our October magazine went to press.

A spokesperson for MetroBus confirmed that the first point of contact for all enquiries about construction and related traffic management should be the contractor. However, it will sometimes be appropriate for the contractor to refer queries to the MetroBus team or local authority highways team for a response.

Griffiths has appointed a dedicated Community Liaison Officer for the MetroBus project, Carys Gwillym, who can be contacted on 08458 622327 or via email at

• The Journal has set up a MetroBus Build information webpage which brings together all the news and resources about the MetroBus project in the Bradley Stoke area, including links to discussion threads on our website and Facebook page:

See also:

MetroBus construction work at the junction of Bradley Stoke Way and Woodlands Lane.

Photos: (1) Sprayed-over sign on the southbound A38 at Aztec West. (2) Construction work at the junction of Bradley Stoke Way and Woodlands Lane.

This article originally appeared in the October 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: The following responses have been received from Griffiths since the above article was written:

  1. “We have addressed the road markings issue and continue to review the area with South Gloucester Council Network Management, who would be required to approve any further road marking/signage alterations.”
  2. “The traffic management has been designed to also reduce the impact on the motorway network and the closure of the dedicated left lane [of the southbound A38] suggested in a number of [Facebook] comments would cause impacts on the motorway network that would not be acceptable to Highways England.”
  3. “Regarding the apparent lack of work, a drive through site today (28th September) shows quite a significant amount of work has taken place in the last two weeks. A lot of the work at present is not terribly visible to passing motorists as it involves exploratory works to identify existing services to safely plan future works and ensure that clashes with existing infrastructure do not occur.”
  4. “We would always encourage people to direct any concerns or questions on the arrangement to our helpline, as this will help us address them much more easily.”
  5. “On a daily basis, we are experiencing a number of issues with vandalism and the removal of and changing of road signs. These signs are there to ensure safety for road users. Removing them can cause confusion and danger.”
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  1. Yes there is a Liason officer Carys but she is on annual leave until 2 November and her stand in is working in a remote area of Wales with no phone signal excellent planning don’t you think? Also denied although I have in an email that work would be 24/7. Very frustrating and when asked if current work was on schedule and asked for approximate reopening of woodlands lane no response passing the buck to the council when I asked these questions saying it’s their decision.

  2. Don’t worry folks, it’s OK for our Tory overlord Lopresti, he’ll just zip around in his taxpayer-funded chopper which doubles up as The Air Ambulance, courtesy of his ‘friend’ over at the Air Ambulance. Toodle Pip Old Boy!

  3. This has to be done so why can’t people stop moaning and just wait till it finished you can still get about ok it might take longer but my god it’s not life threatening is it

  4. Signage is clear, it’s just that a large % of the traffic seems incapable or reading them – including the police my wife noticed. I think most have worked it out now, people just use the A38 lane to queue jump. It doesn’t help that the way the cones are laid out the lane that’s meant to be for bradley stoke actually has to give way to the people who meant to be going on down the A38 but choose to turn left anyway.

  5. It would have been better if they had closed the right lane just off the roundabout, making traffic use the left lane and then immediately filter across to the right. This way it would be more obvious to traffic in lane 2 (either approaching from the motorway or on the roundabout itself) that they are in the wrong lane rather than the daily conflict we currently have..

  6. Why don’t the council use one of those illuminated signs that they are using to advise the change of Sort It Centre opening times. To advise which lane to get into for Bradley Stoke. It would also help if the signage on the surface of the road matched the signs.

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