[Forum] Botched “improvements” leave drivers stranded in Aztec West

Drivers attempting to leave Aztec West this evening faced delays of up to an hour due to badly configured traffic lights.

Here are two photos showing some of the queue in Aztec West:

Traffic queue in the Aztec West business park on 2nd August 2017. Traffic queue in the Aztec West business park on 2nd August 2017.

I walked out of the business park and discovered that the huge queues were caused by the phasing of the traffic lights.

Here’s the traffic on the Aztec roundabout from Bristol followed by the traffic from Bradley Stoke:

Aztec West Roundabout. Aztec West Roundabout.

I think it’s obvious from these photos that the traffic from both these directions was very light. These photos are both captured from a (non-too-exciting) video that I took showing the sequencing of the lights. The video shows that the lights allow traffic to flow from Bristol, then from Bradley Stoke, then from Bristol, then from Bradley Stoke and then finally allow a few vehicles out of the business park.

Here’s a photo of Bradley Stoke Way showing a complete lack of queues:

Little traffic on Bradley Stoke Way despite massive queues to leave the nearby Aztec West business park.

I took the Bradley Stoke photo some 15 minutes after the others because I walked home having abandoned my car in work.

Drivers in Aztec West have been facing variable traffic conditions for months as different traffic light settings are experimented with.  The traffic this evening is probably the worst that it’s been so far. I do remember that the traffic was bad on polling day back in June but that was only a relatively minor 20 minute delay.

Mike DJ

A small selection of public tweets on the issue

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  1. The gridlock was over two hours long one colleague left at 16.15 and returned two hours later having got 200 meters down the road. This is unacceptable no matter what works they are doing. Leave the lights off, as the engineers have absolutely no idea what they are doing, as the traffic then flow safely and efficiently!

  2. I finished work in Aztec West at 17:00 yesterday. Due to the traffic light shenanigans I got home, to Filton, at 19:30!!! 2 years+ of road “improvements” and it’s worse now than it ever was!!! This needs to be sorted out swiftly or the residents in the surrounding areas are going to start complaining about people parking in their streets as it’s the only way of guaranteeing you can get home in a reasonable timeframe.

  3. I think it’s absolutely appalling . I live east Bristol and finish my part time job at 3.45 . I work off of park lane and took me to 7.45 to get home to my children . South Glos council .. I don’t understand why there is only one exit off this estate.. Why not have northbound and southbound exits ?.. would free up all this congestion ?

  4. Last night’s traffic issue was dreadful and incredibly frustrating! What makes it worse is that this is not uncommon anymore that getting off the Aztec West estate is an absolute nightmare!

    I finish work at 5pm, if I’m off this estate by 5.30pm it’s a good day, this should not be the case I should practically be home by then! Last night I got home at 7.30pm!

    The traffic in the summer holidays should be lighter with more people off work and if that’s what last night was like what on earth is September onwards going to be like.
    The traffic lights have been on funny sequences for the last couple of weeks since the new lot have gone live. The amount of days I sit at the lights Aztec West side and watch the lights in front of me on the round about change 2/3 times before we can go is ridiculous!

    Something needs to be done to amend this situation and fast! It’s completely unacceptable! The road works have held everyone up for years now and now the traffic lights can’t even be sorted correctly!
    It’s a complete joke!

    A business park of this size should not have just one exit off of it!

  5. The issue here is the new set of lights going from Aztec up towards motorway. There never used to be lights there and vehicles were able to filter out quickly through the small slip road. Too many traffic lights! At least take out one set of lights on the entire roundabout to help traffic flow easier.

  6. How about a radical idea, try a change monitor for 1 Hour and if situation is worse revert back. Why does it take a debacle for those in control to do anything? This is people’s lives being affected detrimentally.

    Agree about lights on filter – total barren thinking!
    Alternate exit – radical idea 💡

  7. I work on Aztec West and have experienced the deterioration of the traffic management system. Last night reached a new low. In the morning I got to work in 20 minutes. Last night, having left work at 4.30, I finally got home at 7.45. This cannot continue. I urge all the Aztec West businesses to work together to force the Council and the Highways Agency to address this situation urgently.

  8. Absoute Joke last night, traffic was still queued around Aztec at 7.30 last night, the lights were red for 7 minuites and green for 7 seconds, whilst traffic from the A38 to M5 was pretty much non existent, what software does that?

    Some idiot engineer walking round in a hard hat doing nothing, if you are going to test it do it at night , not in peak traffic, school boy error, get rid of the new lights leaving aztec north to the M5, over complication and a complete shambles – South Glos you can do much better, is this where my tax payers money goes> how much has this cost?

  9. Listen to South Gloucestershire Council’s head of transport and streetcare Mark King speaking about yesterday’s Aztec West traffic problems on Radio Bristol this morning:


    “We’re sorry to those people who were trapped.”

    “It’s unacceptable.”

    “We’re doing everything we can to resolve this as quickly as possible.”

    “Engineers will be there tonight from 3.30pm [and if it’s not fixed] we’ll have to do something manually to get people out.”

  10. Statement from South Gloucestershire Council, received by the Journal at 11am today:

    “We are aware of the issues affecting traffic at and around the Aztec West roundabout, particularly in relation to getting out of the business park. We apologise for the disruption caused and are working to fix the problem.”

    “The issue has been caused by a problem with the software that controls the lights and we are taking immediate steps to get this fixed. Engineers have and will remain on site until this is done. If the repairs cannot be made in time today, if necessary we will direct traffic manually during this afternoon’s peak hours.”

    “Local growth in population and business activity in the area has meant that the local road network has been running above its capacity in recent years. South Gloucestershire Council and Highways England have recognised this, which is why we have made significant investment in work on the roundabout to increase capacity and improve traffic flows and this work is almost complete.”

    “We appreciate that traffic disruption causes frustration, but would ask for peoples’ patience, particularly while our staff are working on site to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.”

  11. I wholeheartedly agree that this was an unacceptable failure. Having been at Aztec West for nearly 20 years, it was certainly the worst I’ve seen. Particularly annoying that it was due to a timing malfunction. Tonight was a breeze so assume problem solved…

    However surely we should all do what we can to help?
    Perhaps the author, clearly able to walk home, might consider an alternative means of transport in future?
    Bikes are great, legs almost as good…

  12. How the incident was reported in our September 2017 magazine:



    In a recent update provided to the Journal, SGC has confirmed that the traffic signals on and around the Aztec West Roundabout “are now working as intended”.

    A spokesperson added:

    “We will continue to monitor the operation of the signals and we may carry out some minor adjustments to ensure that they work as effectively as possible for all users, and that our signals are in sync with those managed by Highways England.”

    “The pedestrian crossing lights on the A38 immediately north of the roundabout are working as intended. This is not a regular, stand-alone pedestrian crossing – these new crossings are part of a sequenced traffic signal system that includes a pedestrian crossing facility. The entire roundabout is in effect a series of signalised junctions and we have balanced priorities to aid movement of pedestrians.”