Rabbit Roundabout roadworks bring delays of up to 40 minutes

Photo of traffic congestion on the southbound approach to Great Meadow Roundabout.

The start of the construction phase of South Gloucestershire Council’s (SGC’s) £2.9m scheme of improvements at Great Stoke (Rabbit) Roundabout on Thursday 2nd January has brought peak-time gridlock to Bradley Stoke on a scale rarely seen since the notorious MetroBus roadworks of 2015-17.

Perhaps due to a staggered return to work after the Christmas and New Year break, the full impact on traffic only began to show itself from the second week in January, with BBC Bristol reporting delays of around 30min on Bradley Stoke Way southbound.

By Monday 13th January the delays were up to 40min, with traffic queued back to the Willow Brook Centre and beyond.

Commuters desperate to avoid the delays began to explore alternative routes, leading to the clogging up of Brook Way and Baileys Court Road during the morning peak. The former then impacted flows on another route out of town, Braydon Avenue.

And it’s not just private road users who have been affected – the flagship M1 MetroBus service has suffered immensely – partly due to the removal of the bus lane on the approach to Great Stoke Roundabout, but more so because the buses have found themselves locked in traffic queues on other sections of Bradley Stoke Way where bus lanes were considered unjustifiable on cost grounds.

The delays at Great Stoke Roundabout have also hindered students from the Stokes who attend Winterbourne Academy, including those who travel on the 963 school bus, which has additionally experienced operational troubles of its own making since the start of the new term [read more here].

All this comes before SGC confronts road users with a second set of major roadworks in the area, the full closure of Gipsy Patch Lane at the railway bridge, for eight months, currently expected to commence on 6th March.

Addressing a number of issues raised by our readers on social media, including claims that, at some peak times, there has been only one live lane on the lead-up to Great Stoke Roundabout, an SGC spokesperson said:

“We are at the start of a £160m investment in our roads to reduce congestion and emissions, improve cycling and pedestrian routes, facilitate faster bus journeys and future proof our road network. The purpose of this investment and, in particular, the timing of it, is to support and prepare for major new housing and business development coming to the area.”

“We are doing what we can to minimise the impact of the works but inevitably there will be some disruption and for this we sincerely apologise. Works have been planned carefully to try and keep everyone moving and we have brought forward, postponed and combined some schemes to keep disruption to a minimum. “

“We have started work on the Bradley Stoke Way southbound approach to the roundabout first to minimise the overlap with the closure of Gipsy Patch Lane. The work at Great Stoke has not reduced the amount of usable road space and the current set up retains two-way traffic flow on Bradley Stoke Way. It also retains the two lanes leading up to the roundabout on the Bradley Stoke Way approach and this will be maintained during peak hours throughout the work.”

“The situation is constantly being monitored and following a site visit last week we have extended the lines on the approach to the junction to encourage traffic to use both available lanes.”

“We have now completed the preparation work and the lanes are in place for the construction phase.”

Great Stoke Roundabout Improvements
Progress report from SGC (20th January 2020)

Since work started on site on 2nd January…

We have moved several lighting columns along the footpath on Bradley Stoke Way, aligning them with a new footpath to make space for an extra road lane.

We have also been laying tarmac in the centre of the road at the Bradley Stoke Way junction with the roundabout to accommodate the narrow lanes which will soon be in place on Bradley Stoke Way while we undertake the rest of the improvement works at the roundabout.

We have started construction on both the northbound and southbound carriageways which will lead to increasing the number of lanes from two to three. This does mean the bus lane has been partially suspended to enable us to safely construct the additional lanes. The footpath here is also temporarily closed and a signed diversion route is in place.

We will be removing over 200 tonnes of material from the verge on the northbound exit of the roundabout onto Bradley Stoke Way to make space for the improvements. The excavated soil from Great Stoke will be processed and re-used.

Temporary pedestrian crossing signals are now in place on the B4057 Winterbourne Road west of the roundabout.

Work in February will continue on Bradley Stoke Way and include:

  • Removing existing kerb lines and grass verges to widen the road
  • Reconstruction of an underground BT chamber
  • Establishing the power supplies for the new traffic signals
  • Installing underground infrastructure for the new traffic signals

Photo: Traffic congestion on the Bradley Stoke Way southbound approach to Great Meadow Roundabout on 16th January 2020.

For the latest news on this project, visit the Journal’s dedicated Great Stoke Roundabout Improvements page.

This article originally appeared in the January 2020 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on pages 4 to 6). The magazine is delivered FREE, nine times a year, to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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