Residents across the Stokes are bracing themselves for weeks of severe traffic congestion resulting from the planned closure of a major commuter route through the area.
Gipsy Patch Lane is set to be closed to motorised vehicles at the railway bridge in Little Stoke for four weeks from Monday 3rd June to enable BT to divert its underground cables ahead of the bridge being replaced over a 12-day period spanning Easter 2020.
The new, much wider, concrete bridge will accommodate four lanes of traffic (one bus lane and one general traffic lane in each direction), along with shared-use paths on both sides of the road.
The surface of the highway under the bridge will be lowered by 1.7m to allow taller vehicles, including double-decker buses, to pass through safely.
The June closure comes ahead of a further planned eight-month full road closure at the bridge starting in early 2020.
South Gloucestershire Council (SGC), which is responsible for the Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension (CPME) scheme, of which the bridge replacement work forms a major part, originally said that the June closure would apply to “all highway users”. However, it was recently revealed that a route under the bridge for pedestrians and dismounted cyclists will be maintained during the closure.
Signs giving notice of the upcoming June road closure and advising motorists to “seek other routes” were put out in the week commencing 20th May. To avoid confusion, SGC says it will promote just a single signed diversion route, using Bradley Stoke Way and the A38 (see map below). However, it is widely anticipated that motorists with local knowledge and those using satnav equipment will attempt to use other diversion routes, which is likely to lead to significantly increased congestion on some smaller local roads.
Local councillors have expressed concern about the potential impact of the road closure on local businesses situated on Gipsy Patch Lane and Station Road. Addressing this issue, a statement on the SGC website says:
“Access to properties and side roads along Gipsy Patch Lane will be maintained … Businesses and shops along and near Gipsy Patch Lane will be open as normal.”
For the latest information on the Gipsy Patch Lane road closure and the CPME project more widely, visit SGC’s dedicated webpage at www.southglos.gov.uk/CPmetrobus
Image: Gipsy Patch Lane signed diversion route June 2019
Your questions answered
We asked SGC to provide answers to a few questions posed by readers on the Journal’s Facebook page…
The only signed route shown on the diversion map is one to the north via Bradley Stoke Way and the A38. Why isn’t there a signed diversion route to the south, e.g. via Stoke Gifford By-Pass, A4174 & A38?
The council considers that the A38 and Bradley Stoke Way to be the most appropriate diversion route at this time. However other potential routes, such as the route to the south via the Stoke Gifford Transport Link, could be signed in the future during the CPME works.
Will vehicular access to/from Station Road (from/to Gipsy Patch Lane) be maintained?
We anticipate that vehicular access at the junction with Gipsy Patch Lane will be maintained by BT during the June closure, albeit with temporary traffic management for a period. There will need to be restrictions during the bridge works and when further details are confirmed we will publicise information in advance.
Have you considered temporarily opening up bus lanes to general traffic, particularly the dedicated left turn off Bradley Stoke Way onto A38 southbound?
In order to minimise congestion it is important to encourage as many people as possible to travel sustainably, including by public transport. Opening bus lanes to general traffic would result in bus and MetroBus journey times being negatively affected, therefore going against the principle of encouraging their use.
In a change to the original announcement, pedestrians and cyclists will be able to pass under the bridge during the June closure. This could encourage large numbers of motorists to park on the east side of the bridge and then walk through. Are any steps being planned to address nuisance parking in residential areas?
SGC has been working closely with major local employers to encourage employees to travel to work sustainably, thereby reducing reliance on private cars and the need to park nearby. In addition, increased parking enforcement patrols will be undertaken in the area during the June closure.
More about the work being done during the June closure
When BT talks about diverting underground cables, what exactly does this entail?
BT will excavate a new trench alongside their existing underground cables. This trench will be at the correct depth below the future lower road surface. BT’s diversion work includes relocating chambers and ducting to the east and west of the bridge works outside the extent of the proposed carriageway position once the additional CPME works on Gipsy Patch Lane are completed. Once all the ducts and new chambers are in place, BT will then draw new cables through this new ducting to connect up their network. The redundant ducting, cables and access chambers can then be abandoned and removed during the highway works required during the eight month closure.
Why are the other utilities (gas, electric, water) not diverting their services during the June closure? When will these be done?
The individual programmes for all the remaining affected utilities have all been able to be accommodated within the main 8-month closure next year.
This article originally appeared in the June 2019 issue of the Stoke Gifford Journal magazine (on pages 4 & 5). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to over 5,000 homes in Stoke Gifford, Little Stoke and Harry Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.