Residents of the Stokes who use Gipsy Patch Lane to access employment, shopping and leisure facilities to the west of the railway line are being encouraged to plan ahead for an eight-month full closure of the road that is due to start on Thursday 5th March.
The road closure is needed so that a new, much-wider railway bridge can be moved into place, and for the associated highway works to be completed.
The new wider bridge will provide room for new bus lanes in each direction and shared use cycle and pedestrian pathways, as well as general traffic lanes.
The southern end of Station Road, which emerges onto Gipsy Patch Lane near the bridge, will also be closed to motorised traffic for the same eight-month period. However, pedestrians and cyclists will still be able to pass between Gipsy Patch Lane and Station Road via a temporary footbridge over the culvert that runs along the east side of Station Road.
For motorised through traffic, there will be a signed diversion route throughout the closure period. This will take motorists via Bradley Stoke Way and the A38. Additional signage will also be placed on the wider road network informing motorists of the Gipsy Patch Lane closure and advising them to use alternative routes.
There will also be a signed diversion route for vehicles to reach Station Road from Gipsy Patch Lane (and vice versa), via Little Stoke Lane and Clay Lane.
South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) has confirmed that the bridge closure will apply to all road users, including pedestrians and cyclists, for whom a number of diversion routes will be made available (see map below).
The shortest diversion route for pedestrians and cyclists (#3) makes use of a footbridge over the railway near the entrance to the Sort It Centre on Station Road. This can be accessed from Little Stoke Park and it leads to a public right of way linking with the A38 Gloucester Road.
Network Rail will operate a shuttle bus for pedestrians needing access to either side of the bridge. The shuttle bus will start operation on 5th March and will run weekdays, weekends and will also be available overnight.
The shuttle bus service will be free of charge and will operate for the duration of time the railway bridge is closed to pedestrians.
SGC has confirmed that three-way temporary traffic lights will be installed at the Little Stoke Lane and Braydon Avenue mini-roundabout on a trial basis from Thursday 5th March. They will be manually operated and will initially be used during the morning peak hours. These lights are being installed following feedback received after the temporary closure of Gipsy Patch Lane in June 2019 to improve traffic flow along Little Stoke Lane and provide an equal amount of time to traffic queueing on all approaches to get through this junction. Their effectiveness will be monitored and changes will be made if necessary.
With increased volumes of traffic expected on Orpheus Avenue as local traffic seeks alternative routes, SGC had previously said that it intended to resurface this road, which is in a very poor condition, ahead of the Gipsy Patch Lane closure. However, with the local road network already under pressure resulting from the roadworks at Great Stoke (Rabbit) Roundabout, which started on 2nd January, the Journal has learned that the work has now been postponed.
A council spokesperson explained:
“Following evaluation of the impact of the planned work, we have decided to postpone the scheduled resurfacing of Orpheus Avenue and the lower section of Brook Way for the time being. After further investigation, we found that the schemes will require more work than first anticipated and can only be carried out by closing the roads. Postponing the resurfacing until the major schemes in the area are complete will help to alleviate any further congestion.”
Status report (21st February 2020)
Since our last update (24th January 2020), Network Rail and Alun Griffiths have installed the deep piles that will make up the foundations of the new bridge. Each corner of the new bridge has a number of piles that are now being connected using a steel framework to add increased strength.
Construction of the replacement (concrete) bridge is progressing well, with the south abutment successfully poured on Thursday 6th February. The deck formwork is currently in progress and working towards a deck pour for the week commencing Monday 9th March.
Utility diversion work will continue from Thursday 5th March to coincide with the road closure.
The railway works are currently progressing to schedule, ready for the Easter possession.
Why does the road need to be closed for eight months?
The new railway bridge requires extensive engineering works, including the demolition of the existing railway bridge and lowering the road (to conform to national design standards for headroom under bridges).
Over Easter 2020 the railway line will also be closed for nine days while the existing bridge is demolished and the new bridge manoeuvred into position.
Once the new bridge is in place, further work will need to be carried out on the highway below to make way for the new bus lanes and shared use cycle and pedestrian pathways. Work being carried out during the remainder of the eight-month road closure will include:
- Demolition and excavation of the existing carriageway underneath the bridge
- Re-grading the Station Road junction to tie-in with the new carriageway level
- Utility diversions underneath the new cycle and pedestrian pathways
- Installation of new surface water drainage system, including pumping station
- Installation of new street lighting
- Construction of new carriageway and pathways
- New traffic signs, road markings and landscaping/planting
Images: 1 Previous railway bridge closure in June 2019. 2 Diversion routes for pedestrians and cyclists. 3 Photomontage of the proposed replacement railway bridge, looking westwards.
More information and related links:
- Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension (SGC)
- MetroBus Extension Build (SGJ)
- Photo album: Gipsy Patch Lane Railway Bridge Replacement (SGJ)
This article originally appeared in the March 2020 issue of the Stoke Gifford Journal magazine (on pages 6 & 7). 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.