The construction of a replacement railway bridge on Gipsy Patch Lane, which was due to be take place during a 100-hour rail possession over Easter 2019, has been delayed by a year, the Journal can reveal.
The new bridge forms a major element in South Gloucestershire Council’s (SGC’s) proposed Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension (CPME). Once complete and services start operating in 2021, the CPME will extend part of the North Fringe to Hengrove MetroBus route which is currently being built. Passengers using the extension will be able to benefit from a direct link between Bristol Parkway Station and The Mall bus station, via the redeveloped Filton Airfield site.
The new, wider bridge will benefit road users and local businesses by relieving the pinch point in traffic flow at this location. Proposals for the new bridge are wide enough to include a shared use path on both sides of the road, a lane of general traffic in each direction and a bus lane in each direction underneath the bridge to encourage people to use more sustainable transport options.
An SGC spokesperson told the Journal:
“The [revised] construction programme shows that work to build the new bridge is planned mainly in 2020, which is later than previously stated. This is because we are going through Network Rail’s due process of ensuring that cost estimates that will inform future stages of work on the bridge are as robust as possible. This means that more ground investigation surveys for the bridge have been carried out at an early stage so that we can budget for the bridge’s forthcoming detailed design and construction with as much certainty as possible. This has pushed the bridge replacement part of the CPME scheme back, but the overall timescale for completing the extension remains on track and MetroBus services would start operating on the route after construction finishes in 2021.”
As previously reported, SGC has agreed terms with the developers of the former East Works site (now known as Horizon 38) to use land adjacent to the railway bridge as a site compound for the duration of this aspect of the work. The Journal understands that the delay in starting bridge construction means that the council could face significantly higher costs because it needs to rent the land for a longer period. An SGC spokesperson was unable to confirm this, saying only:
“We are currently working through what cost implications might be, and as the cost of securing individual land parcels is commercially sensitive we are not in a position to release further details.”
The CPME was due to take a major step forward in late February with the submission of planning applications for four elements of the scheme. The two of main interest to the Stokes are:
- Gipsy Patch Lane Railway Bridge and associated highway work: Demolition of the existing bridge and construction of a new railway bridge over Gipsy Patch Lane. This will also include improvements to the road underneath the railway bridge.
- Gipsy Patch Lane and Hatchet Road: Highway works include widening Gipsy Patch Lane between the junction with the Horizon 38 site and the junction with Bush Avenue. In addition, one northbound and one southbound bus stop on Hatchet Road will be upgraded.
The proposals on Hatchet Road comprise only the upgrading of two existing bus stops. This is in line with the decision taken by South Gloucestershire Council’s Cabinet in December last year, that the bus lane previously proposed on Hatchet Road be removed from the CPME scheme.
The other two planning applications relate to elements of the scheme at the San Andreas Roundabout and North Way.
Once the planning applications have been validated, a statutory consultation will be carried out on each of them. Subject to securing the necessary approvals for each of the four elements, construction is due to start in early 2019.
• For further details about the CPME project and its construction programme, visit www.travelwest.info/metrobus/extension
Images: 1 Indicative artist’s impression of the new railway bridge. 2 Overview of the CPME route.
This article originally appeared in the March 2018 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on page 31). 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.
UPDATE (9th March 2018)
The four validated planning applications have now been published on the SGC website. For direct links, visit the Journal’s Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension information page.