Archive for the ‘Transport’ Category

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By-pass opens to general traffic but MetroBus won’t be using it until “summer”

Posted on Thursday 11th January 2018 at 11:11 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of Cllr Matthew Riddle planting a tree.

Bradley Stoke motorists who need to access the A4174 Ring Road and M32 motorway were given an early Christmas present on Monday 18th December when the long-awaited Stoke Gifford By-Pass, officially known as the Stoke Gifford Transport Link (SGTL), was opened to general traffic.

The news will also be warmly welcomed by residents of Stoke Gifford “village”, as it is hoped that the new road will help reduce the flow of traffic along Hatchet Road and Brierly Furlong, which currently suffer from severe congestion during the morning and afternoon rush hours.

The new road, which is 1.6km (one mile) long, has been constructed through open countryside to the east of Stoke Gifford (see map below). It links Parkway North Roundabout on Great Stoke Way (A) and the A41474 Ring Road (D), emerging at a junction opposite the Holiday Inn.

Its construction has required the installation of two new bridges, one over the main railway line (B, near Kings Drive) and the second over the Ham Brook (C, close to the new Crest Nicholson housing development at Highbrook Park).

Work on the road began in August 2015, when Alun Griffiths (Contractors) Ltd set up a site compound near Parkway North Roundabout. A major milestone was reached when beams for the new bridge over the railway were installed in May 2016. However, the project suffered delays in recent months due the late completion of the second new bridge, over the Ham Brook.

More: "MetroBus is about sustainable transport for the future" »

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Hatchet Road bus lane plan scrapped amid concerns of overspend on ‘MetroBus 2’

Posted on Saturday 6th January 2018 at 8:20 pm by SH (Editor)

Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension route map.

A controversial plan to construct a new southbound bus lane on Hatchet Road in Stoke Gifford, as part of a scheme to extend the currently under-construction North Fringe to Hengrove Package (NFHP) MetroBus network, has been scrapped after South Gloucestershire Council’s Conservative-led administration announced a “change of policy”.

The move appears to have been driven by a fear that the Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension (CPME) project may already be heading for a significant overspend before a spade has even touched the ground.

The CPME will provide a MetroBus route between The Mall at Cribbs Causeway and Bristol Parkway Station. It will also serve the new developments planned for the former Filton Airfield site.

The Hatchet Road bus lane had formed part of the scheme since its inception, yet was overwhelmingly opposed during a public consultation exercise in winter 2015/16. In their responses, many local residents criticised the plan to uproot mature hedgerows and trees from both sides of Hatchet Road and there were calls for an alternative route to be used along Winterbourne Road and Great Stoke Way, accessing Parkway Station from the east.

When the proposals first came to an SGC committee for approval in May 2016, a report prepared by officers showed that the Hatchet Road bus lane would cost £2m to implement and yet save only 29 seconds on MetroBus journey times (and this at just one time of day). One alternative option involving the implementation of lay-bys at bus stops instead of a bus lane, came out cheaper and more effective, but officers insisted that the bus lane option was better because it offered “consistently reliable” MetroBus journey times.

More: U-turn prompted by a "divergence of views" »

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Major work continues at Bristol Parkway

Posted on Wednesday 13th December 2017 at 6:59 pm by Laura Mortimore

Work on installing a new fourth platform at Bristol Parkway Station.

Network Rail has been continuing its Railway Upgrade Plan by carrying out some major work at Bristol Parkway Station, causing the station to be completely closed during the first three weekends of November.

As part of the Railway Upgrade Plan, Network Rail is electrifying the railway between London Paddington and Cardiff with the aim being to provide passengers with quieter, more frequent and more reliable services. After the closure of the station for two weeks in September, the first two ten-carriage IETs (Intercity Express trains) entered service on 16th October, travelling through both Bristol Parkway and Bristol Temple Meads stations. They have since travelled over 30,000 miles along the Great Western Railway network, providing 20,000 more seats into London Paddington than the trains they replaced.

During the first three weekends of November, Network Rail continued the work that they started in September. The work they were undertaking involved:

  • Continuing work on the construction of a fourth platform
  • Extending the existing three platforms to accommodate the new IETs
  • Continuing work to improve the track layout to allow more trains to use the station
  • Carrying out further piling (installing foundations along the route to support the overhead electrification equipment)

Part of the electrification works also involved closing the M4 near junction 19 overnight for what was anticipated to be the first two weekends in November. This was to allow Network Rail to install the overhead line equipment needed to run electric train services. Dean Shaw, media relations manager at Network Rail, said: “The work that took place over the M4 at the ‘Blue Bridge’ was a huge success. The work was completed much quicker than we anticipated, which meant that the motorway was only closed for the first weekend.”

More: Weekend piling work to continue through to February 2018 »

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New figures produced to justify Hatchet Road bus lane but cost pressures might just kill it off

Posted on Sunday 3rd December 2017 at 5:35 pm by SH (Editor)

Indicative artist’s impression of proposals on Hatchet Road (looking north).

The future of a controversial plan to construct a new southbound bus lane on Hatchet Road in Stoke Gifford looks set to be finally decided, without further public consultation, at a meeting of South Gloucestershire Council’s (SGC’s) Cabinet on Monday 4th December.

The move is likely to anger local campaigners who collected more than 3,300 signatures on a petition that called for the original decision to be reviewed, leading to the council resolving in July 2017 to bring forward alternative proposals for consideration and carry out further consultation.

The proposed new bus lane will form part of the Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension (CPME) scheme, which will link The Mall at Cribbs Causeway with Bristol Parkway Station and serve the new developments planned for the former Filton Airfield site.

Local residents and councillors have expressed strong opposition to the bus lane because it will require mature hedgerows and trees to be removed from both sides of Hatchet Road. They also claim it is a waste of money, costing £2m to reduce bus journey times by just 29 seconds (revised to an average of 93 seconds in a new report prepared for this month’s meeting).

The overall cost of the CPME scheme is estimated at £35m, a major part of which will be spent on replacing the railway bridge on Gipsy Patch Lane with a much wider concrete structure that can accommodate a bus lane and a general traffic lane in each direction.

Members of the Hatchet Road Action Group have previously expressed preference for an alternative scheme involving the implementation of lay-bys at bus stops, which they claim would facilitate better traffic flow for all road users. This was substantiated by figures in SGC’s original report, which showed that it would achieve improved bus journey time savings in comparison to the bus lane option. However, officers advised against it on the grounds that it “would not necessarily deliver consistently reliable bus and MetroBus journey times”.

In the latest report, consultants say they have revisited the original analysis and identified shortcomings, such as a too pessimistic view being taken of the chance of MetroBus vehicles having to wait at pedestrian crossings and behind other buses at non-MetroBus stops. They also claim insufficient allowance was made for delays faced by buses re-entering the main traffic flow from lay-bys. The net result, it is claimed, is that the bus lane option can now be shown to perform better than lay-bys.

More: Hints that cllrs might nonetheless scrap bus lane to save money »

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