Barely visible to passing traffic, the giant concrete structure that will soon replace the narrow Victorian railway bridge on Gipsy Patch Lane is slowly but surely taking shape within the adjacent site compound of Network Rail’s contractor Alun Griffiths (see photo, above).
Assuming all goes to plan, the completed 4,500 tonne replacement bridge will be manoeuvred into position during a nine-day closure of the railway line currently scheduled to commence on 11th April.
Ahead of this, a planned eight-month full closure of Gipsy Patch Lane, at the railway bridge, is due to commence in March. The precise date is still to be revealed, but online traffic planning tool One Network suggests it will be 5th March 2020.
Piling work to create foundations that will support the new bridge at its four corners began on 4th November 2019. It appears to be running a little behind the originally announced schedule, but the project team insist that the overall scheme remains “on time”.
At the time of writing in mid-December, the initial sheet piling was nearing completion on all four corner sites and bored piling had begun on the first (south-west) corner (see photo, right).
The first phase of overnight piling took place from 2nd to 5th December and weekend work, including piling, on 14th/15th December.
The piling work is expected to continue until the end of January, with construction of the new bridge continuing until the end of February.
No piling or construction work will take place between 24th December 2019 and 1st January 2020 inclusive.
As we went to press, it was announced that the junction of Station Road and Gipsy Patch Lane will be closed to all vehicles for approximately two weeks from Monday 6th January. Pedestrians and cyclists will still be able to access Station Road via Gipsy Patch Lane during the closure. A signed diversion route for vehicles to reach Station Road via Little Stoke Lane and Clay Lane will be in operation.
The November meeting of the Stakeholder Liaison Group (SLG) was told that the official diversion route for the eight-month full closure will be the same as last June, i.e. Great Stoke Roundabout, Bradley Stoke Way, Aztec West, A38. It was also informed that Orpheus Avenue will be resurfaced ahead of the closure and temporary traffic signals will be used during the morning and afternoon peak travel times at the mini-roundabout at the junction of Little Stoke Lane and Braydon Avenue. These will start when the closure begins and initially run as a trial.
The SLG meeting once more heard concerns expressed about parking on Little Stoke Lane near to the junction with Gipsy Patch Lane, which blocks traffic trying to use the road. The council says it is looking into the potential for temporary parking restrictions. A decision will be reported back to the group in January.
Elsewhere on the Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension (CPME) project, two new MetroBus stops are due to be installed along Hatchet Road in early 2020 (One Network shows a start date of 6th April).
Photos: 1 Replacement bridge construction – The northern side of the bridge (scaffolded section to the right of the photo) is 30% complete, including reinforcement steel work. Work is beginning on the southern side (scaffolded section to the left). 2 A giant bored piling machine working on the south-west corner foundations.
To help keep local people informed about all highway improvement works taking place in the area this year, South Gloucestershire Council is holding a series of public drop-in events:
Wednesday 22nd January, 4pm to 7pm
Little Stoke Primary School, Little Stoke Lane BS34 6HY
Saturday 25th January, 11.30am to 2.30pm
Little Stoke Community Hall, Little Stoke Lane BS34 6HR
Monday 27th January, 4pm to 7pm
St Michael’s Centre, North Rd BS34 8PD
Thursday 30th January, 4pm to 7pm
Baileys Court Activity Centre, Baileys Court Road BS32 8BH
Officers from the council will be available to answer questions, along with representatives from Network Rail and Alun Griffiths who are involved with the CPME project. Everyone is welcome to attend, there is no need to book. Please note these are drop-in sessions and you can attend at any time during the session.
On Saturday 25th January, members of the TravelWest team will be on hand at the Little Stoke Community Hall event offering advice on alternative, active and sustainable travel options. They will also be able to help with journey planning.
This article originally appeared in the January 2020 issue of the Stoke Gifford Journal magazine (on pages 8 & 9). The magazine is delivered FREE, nine times a year, to over 5,000 homes in Stoke Gifford, Little Stoke and Harry Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
Update (7th January 2020)
South Gloucestershire Council has announced that the planned closure of the junction of Station Road with Gipsy Patch Lane, which was due to start yesterday (Monday 6th January), has been postponed by the contractor and will now take effect from Monday 13th January.