MetroBus construction work will still be going on within Bradley Stoke as late as July 2017, despite roadside signs still saying the work is due to be completed in the spring, the Journal can reveal.
At the start of the project in September 2015, contractors Alun Griffiths said they planned to finish all MetroBus work in the town by Christmas 2016, beating the advertised completion date by a few months, but the discovery of a series of uncharted gas and water mains at the north end of Bradley Stoke Way (BSW) has delayed progress, meaning that this section will now not be complete until 17th March 2017.
Additionally, land acquisition issues at the south end of BSW, where a new southbound bus lane is to be constructed on the approach to Great Stoke Roundabout (a.k.a. Rabbit Roundabout), have meant that it has not been possible to commence work in this area. The Journal has learned that this work is now scheduled to start at the beginning of March and finish on 11th July 2017.
Traffic congestion in north Bradley Stoke plumbed new depths of intolerability from 12th November when the inside lane of three on the BSW approach to the Aztec West Roundabout was closed to allow the construction of a new left filter bus lane. During the four weeks of chaos that followed, there were reports of frustrated motorists getting out of their vehicles to move barriers so that they could make the banned right turn out of Woodlands Lane and even driving up the wrong side of the road to escape the gridlock. The misery lasted until 11th December, when most of the closed lane was reopened, resulting in an instant improvement in journey times.
As reported in our December magazine, the full reopening of the Woodlands Lane junction is dependent on Griffiths’ completion of the bus slip lane on BSW and a number of central traffic islands, as well as signalisation works that will be carried out by South Gloucestershire Council.
As we went to press, a MetroBus spokesperson told us:
“The current planned dates for signals are that work will begin w/c 9th January. The installation will take approximately ten days. At this point the road will need to be resurfaced and white lined. Work is currently ahead of schedule and this means that providing surfacing resources can be obtained and there are no unexpected problems, Woodlands Lane should be open by early February.”
A similar sequence of work is required at the Orchard Gate junction, which is expected to reopen around the same time.
Resurfacing work will be carried out overnight and will require the full closure of BSW, on a number of selected nights, between Patchway Brook Roundabout and the Aztec West Roundabout. Advance notice of these road closures will be given and signed diversions will be put in place.
The final approach to Patchway Brook Roundabout on BSW westbound (currently reduced to one lane) was expected to be restored to two lanes, in a temporary state, before Christmas, although some occasional off-peak lane closures will be required in the new year.
Between Patchway Brook Roundabout and the Aztec West Roundabout, the contractors were said to be trying to get all ‘as designed’ general traffic lanes completed by Christmas, meaning that two westbound lanes would become available shortly after the Orchard Gate junction (currently single lane until the Woodlands Lane junction). However, off-peak lane closures may still be required until the end of January.
Asked when the two lane exit from the Aztec West Roundabout onto BSW eastbound (currently reduced to one lane) might be restored, the spokesperson said:
“This will need to be maintained until the completion of our central island works and the signals works at the end of Woodlands Lane. Therefore it should be open at the end of January. However, off peak closures may still be required periodically and we may need to assess how reopening this affects the traffic management regarding South Gloucestershire Council’s road widening works on the A38 approaching Aztec West.”
The informal pedestrian crossing of BSW on the eastern arm of Patchway Brook Roundabout, which provides a direct route between Bowsland Way and Aldi, is expected to reopen in mid-January.
Asked if MetroBus services on the North Fringe to Hengrove Package route are still on track to commence from the previously advised date of September 2017, the spokesperson said:
“MetroBus is still on track to launch in the autumn. The launch will be phased in as and when the infrastructure is complete.”
This article originally appeared in the January 2017 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on pages 18 & 19). 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.
Postscript: The following update was received from the West of England Councils’ MetroBus team on 23rd December 2016, after our January magazine had gone to print.
Work continues to finish the traffic islands at the junction between Bradley Stoke Way and Woodlands Lane. Week commencing the 9th January, South Gloucestershire Council will start to install the traffic signals and this is likely to take around ten working days. Once the signals are installed, Bradley Stoke Way can then be surfaced. The surfacing work is expected to take two weeks and will be undertaken during overnight road closures. Currently the surfacing work is due to take place mid-February with the Woodlands Lane junction expected to be fully open week commencing 27th February.
Due to the work being ahead of schedule, the contractor, Alun Griffiths, is attempting to bring the surfacing works forward. However this is dependent on whether the surfacing crews are available. Should they succeed, then Woodlands Lane junction could be fully open at the beginning of February rather than at the end.
All timescales quoted above are provisional and are dependent on the prevailing weather conditions.
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