£30m plan for ring road traffic flow 'could just result in yet more jams'
A THREE-year project to transform five roundabouts on the Avon Ring Road has been unveiled.
The £30 million scheme would see three of the roundabouts – Siston Hill near Mangotsfield, Deanery Road near Warmley and Kingsfield, at Longwell Green – have new lanes built across the middle for through traffic, similar to those currently being built at the Woodstock roundabout near Cadbury Heath.
The other two – Lyde Green roundabout near the Bristol and Bath Science Park and the Rosary roundabout near Emersons Green shopping centre – would have extra lanes added.
South Gloucestershire Council has launched a 12-week public consultation the on plans, which it says are aimed at tackling congestion on the A4174 and stopping drivers using nearby residential roads as rat-runs.
More traffic lights and entry lanes will be installed, some trees removed and replaced, and land at the edges of the dual carriageway used to provide extra space.
No dedicated bus lanes are envisaged but sensors will detect when buses are approaching to give priority, while improvements for pedestrians and cyclists are also included.
The council says that although the scheme on a five-mile stretch of the road involves widening, the intention is to encourage “necessary strategic car trips”, because the A4174 is the most suitable for commutes in the area.
It says the scheme will improve air quality by easing congestion.
However, it is not certain to go ahead, especially as the region’s new metro mayor Dan Norris, who has strategic responsibility for yransport in the region, has expressed misgivings.
He said: “We have to look at the strong possibility that just widening roads simply causes increased journeys by car and does not alleviate congestion.”
Green Party councillors in Bristol have also criticised the proposals, saying the money should be invested in public transport, walking and cycling and that adding car lanes to tackle gridlock is like “loosening your belt to cure obesity”.
Commenters on the Voice’s Facebook page said it would be best to see how the Woodstock ‘throughabout” worked, once it is complete at the end of this year, before starting any similar projects.
The council will use feedback from the consultation to form a business case to be sent to the Government for approval and funding, with work expected to start in phases from next year and last until 2025.
It says the latest plans will “help the flow of public transport through improved junction performance”.
Cabinet member for regeneration, environment and strategic infrastructure Steve Reade said: “We want to reduce congestion and improve air quality in South Gloucestershire so have explored options to improve five junctions on the A4174.
“The ring road is a key transport corridor in our area, providing a link between the A4 and Bath to the south and the M32 and the M4 to the north, and serves as a strategic route to avoid travelling through the Bristol urban area.
“It also provides access to a number of local residential and employment areas.
“This scheme is designed to encourage necessary strategic car trips to remain on the A4174, the most suitable road designed to accommodate longer distance car journeys, and to deter the traffic from re-routing through our local communities.”
The council says that with "no intervention", congestion along the A4174 and nearby roads "will worsen due to planned local growth in the area".
The plans are part of a wider package of improvements to the ring road proposed in the West of England Joint Local Transport Plan.
DEANERY ROAD ROUNDABOUT
Deanery Road roundabout at Warmley will become a signal controlled "throughabout" with the A4174 widened to three ahead lanes and an additional lane for those accessing the A420.
Traffic lights will be added to the westbound approach from Warmley.
The existing pedestrian and cycle ‘toucan’ crossings will be retained on the western route, along with the pedestrian and cycle underpasses beneath the north and south routes.
There will be a new retaining wall on the north-east approach from the north, with the existing cycle route being kept and modified.
Modifications on Baden Road, to the ‘no through road’ turning point, are likely to be required to accommodate the new road layout on the south-western side of the junction.
How to have your say
The consultation is open now and closes on August 16.
Full details, including how to participate in “virtual event spaces”, are available by visiting https://consultations.southglos.gov.uk/A4174Improvements
Paper copies and alternative formats of the consultation documents are available at the Kingswood One Stop Shop or by emailing email@example.com or phoning 01454 868000.
While people are encouraged to engage remotely, face-to-face events will be held at Warmley community centre in Deanery Road, Kingswood, between 5pm and 8pm on Wednesday, June 30, and at Emersons Green village hall from 1pm to 5.30pm on Saturday, July 10.