Relief as Gipsy Patch bridge route reopens to traffic

Photo of cars passing under a bridge.
Car pass under the new Gipsy Patch Lane railway bridge on Monday 6th September 2021, the first day of the one-way reopening.

The through-route along Gipsy Patch Lane between Little Stoke and the A38 Gloucester Road has finally reopened, albeit in one direction only, following a road closure that lasted 10 months longer than originally planned.

The road was closed at the railway bridge site on 6th March 2020 to permit demolition of the old narrow brick-built bridge and its replacement with a much wider concrete structure. However, the onset of the coronavirus crisis later that month meant that the bridge-swap operation which had been planned for Easter 2020 had to be postponed. It was eventually carried out (although not without problems) in November 2020, 7 months behind schedule.

Following the installation of the new bridge, work has been taking place to lower the road surface underneath it, so that there is sufficient clearance for high vehicles such as double decker buses and HGVs (as mandated by national design standards).

Further delays to the project arose after engineers determined that a larger than anticipated pumping station would be required to prevent flooding of the road underneath the bridge.

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One-way system

Gipsy Patch Lane reopened to traffic in a westbound direction only (towards the A38) in the early hours of Monday 6th September 2021.

The new one-way system operates between the Little Stoke Lane junction and the mini-roundabout at Rolls-Royce. Traffic is only able to travel westbound between those points, towards Filton and the A38.
For safety reasons while the one-way system is in operation, the majority of side roads to the east of the railway bridge (Little Stoke side) have been closed at their junctions with Gipsy Patch Lane. West of the bridge, access to Pegasus Park is ‘right-in’ and ‘right-out’ only and the junction with Titan Road is closed.

For full details of the one-way system, including all junction restrictions and alternative access arrangements, see the map and description later in this article..

The existing signposted diversion route remains in place for eastbound traffic via the A38, Bradley Stoke Way and Winterbourne Road. However, motorists with local knowledge are likely to continue using shorter alternative routes.

Safe working

Photo of a car travelling along a narrow traffic lane.
Narrow traffic lanes in the one-way system on Gipsy Patch Lane as highway widening works continue.

South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) says the one-way system is necessary to “allow safe and efficient working” during the construction of new bus lanes along Gipsy Patch Lane, on either side of the bridge. It will also permit Network Rail’s contractor Alun Griffiths to install the redesigned pumping equipment under the road surface on the south side of the carriageway beneath the bridge.

Motorists travelling westbound along Gipsy Patch Lane will find they are channelled onto the “wrong” side of the carriageway for this direction of travel. This is because the ongoing highway and bridge works are mostly taking place on the south side of the road, i.e. on the left when travelling towards the A38.

The one-way system is expected to be in place until the road widening works have been completed in late 2022, although a recent meeting of the stakeholders’ liaison group was told that there would be an “incremental release of temporary measures where possible”.

The railway bridge replacement and highway widening works on Gipsy Patch Lane form part of the £57 million Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension scheme that will link Parkway Station with The Mall at Cribbs Causeway.

Work completed over the summer, as reported by SGC

  • Bristol Water and Western Power Distribution have both completed diversions of their apparatus, which will enable both the road widening work and future landscaping. This includes the planting of replacement trees.
  • A new attenuation tank has been installed at the Gifford Crescent junction, which will help safeguard Gipsy Patch Lane east of the railway bridge (residential side) against future flooding.
  • Our teams excavated 616 tonnes of material, installed 54 metres of 900mm diameter pipe and backfilled 251 tonnes of granular fill. Grass seeding in this area will take place this autumn.
  • Temporary works at Pegasus Park have been completed and permanent works next to Rolls Royce have started including works to install a new traffic signal junction as part of the Horizon 38 development.
  • A Temporary fence has been installed along the southern verge of Gipsy Patch Lane next to Bush Avenue and Smithcourt Drive. This is to provide a visual screen of the works area for residents who will be closest to the road widening works on the south side of Gipsy Patch Lane.
  • Some tree pruning work has also been carried out on the north-side of Gipsy Patch Lane east of the bridge and west of the bridge opposite Rolls Royce. This work was needed because the trees were overhanging the pavement and road.
  • At the railway bridge, Network Rail and its contractor Alun Griffiths have been carrying out highway construction work along the north-side carriageway in preparation of Gipsy Patch Lane opening one-way.

In detail: Gipsy Patch Lane one-way system

Map illustrating one-way scheme.
Gipsy Patch Lane: One-way (westbound-only) scheme implemented in September 2021.

View a higher-resolution version of the map (on the SGC website).

For safety reasons while the one-way system is in operation, the majority of side roads to the east of the railway bridge (Little Stoke side) need to be closed at their junctions with Gipsy Patch Lane. This includes Station Road, Gifford Crescent, the service road, Smithcourt Drive and Bush Avenue (west-most junction).

Access for residents and businesses will be maintained via diversion routes.

The Gipsy Patch Lane service road’s junction with Gifford Crescent will be open. The eastern access to Bush Avenue, nearest to Little Stoke Lane, will remain fully open to residents and patrons of the pub. Drivers are advised that the speed limit along Bush Avenue and Smithcourt Drive will be reduced to 20mph for the duration of the works. Little Stoke Lane will also remain open.

Businesses in Station Road, Gifford Crescent and the Stokers public house will remain open for business as usual. Vehicular access to the shops at Gifford Crescent will be via Kingsway while cars accessing the Stokers pub will do so via Bush Avenue (east-most junction). Vehicular access to Station Road will continue to be via Clay Lane to the north.

At Horizon 38, Titan Road will be closed, so all traffic will need to use Taurus Road.

Businesses at Pegasus Park (including Stagecoach, Strenco and Tyres Direct UK) will be accessible and remain open as usual, but traffic entering and exiting will need to follow the one-way system. This means that the junction will be ‘right-in’ and ‘right-out’ only.

Guidance for pedestrians and cyclists

Cyclists on the road will need to observe the one-way system and use the shared use paths that run along Gipsy Patch Lane.

Cyclists and pedestrians will also be able to use the new shared use path under the railway bridge.

A temporary pedestrian crossing has been installed on Gipsy Patch Lane between the junctions of Gifford Crescent and Station Road. This will be in operation throughout the duration of the one-way system.

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MetroBus and road scheme will benefit pedestrians and cyclists, says councillor

Photo of a man in hi-vis vest standing in front of a bridge.
Cllr Steve Reade on Gipsy Patch Lane in August 2021.

The Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension (CPME) is a £57 million investment to reduce congestion and improve journey times for all road users in the area by providing a new quick, reliable public transport system and a realistic alternative to travelling by car.

As part of the CPME project, highway improvements are being made along Gipsy Patch Lane, including footway widening and new bus lanes. This will result in significant benefits for everyone, whether travelling by bus, car, cycle or on foot. These works are being completed by SGC’s Streetcare team.

Network Rail and its contractor Alun Griffiths will also continue work at the new railway bridge on Gipsy Patch Lane on behalf of South Gloucestershire Council. The wider bridge will provide space for new bus lanes in each direction and shared use cycle and pedestrian pathways, as well as general traffic lanes.

SGC Cabinet member for regeneration, environment and strategic infrastructure, Cllr Steve Reade, said:

“The CPME is a flagship project for the council and it plays a key part improving public transport, walking and cycling facilities and the road network in the area.”

“The partial reopening of Gipsy Patch Lane is an important milestone for this ambitious project which has already involved the installation of the new railway bridge, the upgrading of bus stops on Hatchet Road and changes at the San Andreas roundabout in Cribbs Causeway.”

“The westbound one-way system will support businesses and help keep South Gloucestershire moving as we continue to recover from the pandemic.”

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the work, and we would like to thank the local community for their continued patience.”

More information and related links:

This article originally appeared in the September 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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  1. Cllr Reade looks very happy with a project that must be the most delayed in the history of roadworks on the world, it might help if they actually had workmen working occasionally..utter shambles and poor planning, SGC are completely incapable of undertaking roadworks in a timely manner.

  2. Two years (and likely another 6 months) to replace a bridge. How can anyone be happy and celebrating this as a success? It is a shambles. There appears to be very little/no work going on whenever I pass. They must be adding one block a day. This is yet another embarrassing and hugely over budget project. I could have built this bridge with Lego by now. What a joke.

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