Motorists using the A38 northbound between the Aztec West Roundabout and M5 J16 will have noted further changes to the road layout in recent months. The latest alterations were implemented in June 2018, eight months after a £4.2m scheme of “improvements” on the southbound side of the A38 and on the arms of the Aztec West Roundabout itself was deemed “substantially completed” in October 2017.
South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) has refused to accept a widely held view that the original multi-million pound scheme actually worsened peak time traffic delays for the majority of road users in the area, claiming that the latest work constituted “mitigation measures” needed to alleviate issues that were outside the scope of the original work.
When pressed to explain what these additional issues were, SGC officers listed them as:
- Inefficiency of the operation of M5 16, leading to exit blocking, the subsequent knock-on effect causing queuing back to and beyond Aztec West Roundabout.
- The completion of Pinchpoint schemes at M5 J16 in 2015 by both SGC and Highways England failed to maximise potential for improvements to the local network.
- Motorists exiting the Aztec West Business Park in the lane meant for Bradley Stoke Way and turning left rather than using the left filter lane. This resulted in these motorists blocking vehicles travelling from Bradley Stoke Way and the A38 south of the roundabout.
- Traffic turning right from Bradley Stoke Way heading for M5 J16 was frequently observed queueing over the boxed junction on the circulatory. This uses up the capacity for A38 northbound, when A38 northbound is on green only a few vehicles make it through the cycle after all the box queueing traffic has cleared.
- Surveys undertaken in November 2017 and February 2018 showed that the average length of time taken to exit the business park was 21 minutes.
A range of potential mitigation options was revealed at the Bradley Stoke Community Engagement Forum in February 2018, and from these, ‘Option 2’ was selected, namely to “convert lane 1 northbound between Aztec West Roundabout and M5 J16 to ‘left only’”.
The A38 lane reconfiguration was implemented in June 2018, with the council saying that there was no time for further public consultation “due to funding deadlines and imminent work by Highways England to install a new slip road crossing at J16”.
Monitoring of the impact of the lane reconfiguration is ongoing, says SGC, as is monitoring of the traffic signals at the J16 roundabout, which are under the control of Highways England.
SGC has refused to accept the view that new traffic signals on the left filter lane out of the business park, which show red even when no pedestrians are crossing, are responsible for delaying traffic exiting the park.
Asked whether SGC has assessed potential additional stresses on the Aztec West traffic flow resulting from unanticipated factors such as the removal of tolls on the Severn bridges and the possible building of an arena at Filton Airfield, a spokesperson said:
“The Aztec West scheme was designed based on predicted future traffic flows taking account for future planned growth in housing and employment. The impact of any traffic generated by an arena at Filton on the Aztec West Roundabout will be assessed if and when detailed proposals for an arena and its proposed operation come forward. The actual impact of the removal of the Severn bridge tolls, when they cease at the end of the year, will be monitored as part of the council’s traffic monitoring programme.”
• Funding for the original £4.2m scheme was provided by the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership.
This article originally appeared in the October 2018 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on page 37). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
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