Bridge reopening further delayed and one-way system announced

Photo of bridge and huge drainage pipes.
Huge drainage pipes being installed beneath highway level on the west side of the new bridge.

Motorists in the Stokes have been dealt a double blow with the news that the road under the Gipsy Patch Lane railway bridge may now not open until December, and once it does, most of Gipsy Patch Lane will be restricted to one-way traffic flow for many months thereafter.

Confirmation of the reopening delay comes after we revealed in our March/April issue that engineers had decided a larger than originally anticipated pumping station and drainage system is needed to prevent flooding of the lowered highway under the bridge.

Due to this upgrade in the drainage system, Network Rail has applied for a renewed Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) allowing it to keep Gipsy Patch Lane fully closed to traffic at the railway bridge for a further 18 months, although it states that it is anticipated that the closure extension will last seven months (from mid-May), suggesting a revised reopening date of mid-December.

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However, South Gloucestershire Council says it is working closely with Network Rail and its contractor Alun Griffiths Ltd “to understand if there is opportunity for a partial reopening of Gipsy Patch Lane one-way in the autumn, which will allow for some traffic under the bridge but maintain sufficient space for work to continue safely”.

It adds that any such reopening of the road under the bridge would need to be co-ordinated with the road widening works on Gipsy Patch Lane, which are due to commence either side of the railway bridge during the summer.

Passage under the bridge for pedestrians and dismounted cyclists will continue to be available throughout.

One-way system

Map showing proposed traffic management.
Proposed traffic management on Gipsy Patch Lane, following reopening of the railway bridge in late 2021.

Road widening is needed on Gipsy Patch Lane further to the east and west of the railway bridge to enable the creation of new bus lanes. During these construction activities significant traffic management measures will be needed in order to allow safe and efficient working.

In particular, once the road under the bridge is partially reopened, be it in autumn or December, a westbound one-way system will be installed along a 775m stretch of Gipsy Patch Lane extending from the junction with Little Stoke Lane east of the bridge to the mini-roundabout at Rolls-Royce west of the bridge. This will mean that traffic will only be able to travel along this section of Gipsy Patch Lane towards the A38 junction.

Traffic needing to travel eastbound will need to use the existing diversion route via the A38, Bradley Stoke Way and Winterbourne Road (although it is likely that motorists with local knowledge will choose shorter alternatives).

For safety reasons, the council is insisting that side roads to the east (Little Stoke side) of the railway bridge that fall within the one-way system will to be closed at their junctions with Gipsy Patch Lane (see map above; view hi-res version on Dropbox).

A council spokesperson said:

“Closing these side roads is considered the safest approach once the one-way system is installed to prevent drivers potentially turning the wrong way out of these junctions.”

West of the bridge, access to Pegasus Park (home to Tyres Direct, Stagecoach and Strenco) will be retained, but traffic entering and exiting will need to comply with the one-way system.

Side road restrictions

For safety reasons, all side junctions to the east of the railway bridge on Gipsy Patch Lane which fall within the one-way system will need to be closed to all traffic while the one-way system is in place. This will include Station Road, Gifford Crescent, the service road, Smithcourt Drive and Bush Avenue. Motorists needing to access properties in Bush Avenue and Smithcourt Drive, or the Stokers Pub will need to use the eastern access to Bush Avenue, nearest to Little Stoke Lane. They will need to exit the same way.

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Bus stop work

The bus stop upgrade work being currently carried out on Gipsy Patch Lane is reported to be on schedule to complete in early May. At this point, the current westbound road closure will be removed. However, the council warns that further traffic management measures, such as temporary traffic lights, will be required on Gipsy Patch Lane this spring/summer in advance of the planned partial reopening of the bridge.

More information and related links:

This article originally appeared in the May 2021 issue of the Stoke Gifford Journal magazine (on pages 4 & 5). 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.

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