Road users in the Stokes will have to put up with Gipsy Patch Lane being fully closed or restricted by traffic management measures for at least another two years, the Journal can reveal.
The news comes after South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) was forced to replan the later stages of the Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension (CPME) project after the installation of the new Gipsy Patch Lane railway bridge was postponed because of the Covid-19 crisis.
The bridge move will now take place during a 13-day railway closure starting on Saturday 24th October 2020.
Following this, Gipsy Patch Lane and its junction with Station Road will remain fully closed to road users until approximately July 2021, while the road surface beneath the bridge is lowered.
SGC says the extended timeframe for the bridge works “takes into consideration the extra time needed to carry out work whilst observing the current government guidelines on coronavirus and social distancing”.
Once the work in the immediate vicinity of the bridge has been completed, highway works to create new bus lanes along Gipsy Patch Lane will begin.
Construction work for the road widening west of bridge (Rolls-Royce side) will start in August 2021 and will take approximately nine months to complete.
Work east of bridge (Little Stoke side) will start in October 2021 and will take approximately 14 months to complete.
“Traffic management measures” (e.g. traffic lights, one-way road closures) will continue to be in place on Gipsy Patch Lane during the 16 months of highway works either side of the bridge.
Asked why the highway works couldn’t have been be done sooner whilst the roads were quiet, a council spokesperson explained:
“The planned road widening work [on the Little Stoke side], which will make way for a new bus lane, will involve the removal of trees and shrubs on the south side of Gipsy Patch Lane. The removal of trees cannot take place during bird nesting season, which runs between March and September, so we have been unable to start this phase of work during this time.”
“Priority is also being given to completing the bridge replacement work and the subsequent road lowering at the bridge before other major construction activity along Gipsy Patch Lane begins.”
Pedestrians and dismounted cyclists will continue to be allowed to pass under the bridge until late September 2020, after which the shuttle bus service will be reinstated.
The council says the footpath under the bridge will be reopened “as soon as possible after the bridge move has taken place”.
Project status report (21st August 2020)
Work has been continuing in preparation for the upcoming bridge move. Work to extend culverts, divert cables, waterproof the bridge deck and concrete finishing has been completed during August and work on the self-propelled modular transporter (SPMT) roadway is continuing.
In September, the SPMT roadway will be complete and trackside work will take place over three Saturday nights. Highway drainage work is planned with a view to beginning it in September, prior to the bridge move. Anti-graffiti coating will also be applied in September.
All of the above activities will be carried out to ensure the protection of the workforce in a socially distanced environment.
Petition launched to ‘save the trees’ on Gipsy Patch Lane
A local resident has started a petition to save 20 semi-mature trees that are due to be felled as part of the work to widen Gipsy Patch Lane east of the bridge. Plans approved in July 2018 show that these trees, on the Bush Avenue side of the road (left in picture), are to be removed to allow the existing traffic lanes to be shifted south, thereby creating space for a new eastbound bus lane on the north side of the road.
Titled ‘Save the trees of Little Stoke’, the petition (hosted on the 38 Degrees website) says the threatened trees are “characteristic of the area”, providing a valuable resource for wildlife. It questions the need for a new MetroBus route, saying that there is “even less need for it” since the Covid-19 pandemic struck, since traffic is now lighter and existing bus services have fewer passengers.
South Gloucestershire Council says that, as a mitigation measure, it has recently planted 53 trees of various species at nearby locations along Winterbourne Road and Orpheus Avenue. It also says that once the CPME construction work is complete, it intends to “plant as many new trees as possible [along Gipsy Patch Lane] whilst taking account of site constraints such as underground utilities and visibility splays from side junctions”.
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 September 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.