Gipsy Patch Lane reopened both ways … What next?

Photo of a bus lane.
New eastbound bus lane on Gipsy Patch Lane, Little Stoke.

The two-way reopening of Gipsy Patch Lane on the morning of Sunday 24th April 2022 has allowed traffic to pass under the railway line in an eastbound direction (towards Little Stoke) for the first time in more than two years.

The road had been subject to full and partial closures since March 2020, to allow the replacement of a narrow Victorian-era railway bridge and road widening works to create space for new bus lanes.

There had earlier been some partial relief for motorists when one-way (westbound only) passage under the new railway bridge was opened up in September 2021.

Motor vehicles can now pass along the full length of Gipsy Patch Lane in both directions – westbound towards the A38 Gloucester Road, and eastbound towards Little Stoke, Stoke Gifford and Bradley Stoke.

All side road junctions, including Titan Road (leading into the Horizon 38 business park), have also reopened to traffic.

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Ahead of the recent two-way reopening, motorists had to endure a two-week full closure of Gipsy Patch Lane so that road resurfacing could be carried out.

South Gloucestershire Council says the recent resurfacing work involved “reconstructing all the asphalt layers in the road, not simply the top layer, to make the road fit for purpose for years to come”.

More than 1,900 tonnes of material were removed, and during the asphalting operation over 200 tonnes of material were laid each day.

Road widening work continues to be carried out west of the railway bridge (Rolls-Royce side), and to enable this work narrow lanes will be in place along this stretch of the carriageway.

Photo of cars passing under a railway bridge.
The first vehicles pass under the new railway bridge on Gipsy Patch Lane. Little Stoke, after the road was reopened to two-way traffic following a closure lasting more than two years.

More road closures

The latest version of the project construction programme (dated March 2022) shows ‘completion and resurfacing’ on the west side being carried out in August and September. This resurfacing will require a further closure of Gipsy Patch Lane, the dates for which will be announced in due course.

It is also likely that Station Road will need to be fully or partially closed whilst remedial works are carried out on the railway embankment near the northeast corner of the bridge. This work is expected to take around six weeks; the start date is yet to be confirmed.

The main construction work for the Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension (CPME) scheme is due to complete in September this year. Other work, such as the installation of bus shelters and iPoints, along with landscaping, will be completed in the autumn.

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Resurfacing other roads

The council has announced plans to resurface a number of other roads in the immediate area over the summer. These are:

  • Gipsy Patch Lane between the Little Stoke Lane junction and the Hatchet Road roundabout (both sides of the carriageway). Due to take place in May.
  • Gipsy Patch Lane service road (between Bush Avenue and the Stokers pub). Due to take place in June.
  • Smithcourt Drive (a section adjacent to Gipsy Patch Lane). Due to take place in July.
  • Stoke Lane (between Amberley Road and Braydon Avenue). Due to take place in September.

Further details and precise dates will be announced in due course.

MetroBus services

Map showing CPME route.
The route links Parkway with The Mall via Hatchet Road, Gipsy Patch Lane, the Horizon 38 business park and forthcoming developments on the former airfield.

Once complete, the £57 million Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension (CPME) will provide a route for fast and reliable bus services between Bristol Parkway and The Mall at Cribbs Causeway, via the Brabazon mixed-use development that is being built on the former Filton Airfield.

Officers at the West of England Combined Authority (Weca) had previously expressed doubts about whether it would prove possible to find a bus company to operate a MetroBus service over the new route, due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on bus patronage. Operators were said to be “cautious about committing to a commercial offer” and it was thought likely that the service would “require some funding in the short term”.

Photo of a row of parked buses.
M1 MetroBus vehicles at the Bristol Community Transport depot in Bedminster. (Archive image)

However, Weca has now revealed that a commercial offer has come forward after all, although details such as the agreed minimum service frequencies remain unknown. A spokesperson said:

“The MetroBus service will start along the new route in spring 2023. The West of England Combined Authority has received a commercial offer from a bus operator and therefore did not need to resort to a procurement exercise. Buses are expected to follow a slightly amended route until the new road is built through the YTL site on the old airfield. As the development is progressed the route will change. No more detail is publicly available currently as it is commercially sensitive information.”

More information and related links:

This article originally appeared in the May 2022 issue of the Stoke Gifford Journal magazine (on pages 6 & 7).

Stoke Gifford and Little Stoke A-Z directory of trades and services.

Side road resurfacing

UPDATE added 24th May 2022.

South Gloucestershire Council has announced today that resurfacing work will take place this week and next week in Little Stoke.

The Gipsy Patch Lane service road, between Bush Avenue and The Stokers pub, will be resurfaced on Wednesday 25th May and Thursday 26th May, between 8am and 4pm.

A section of Smithcourt Drive, between house numbers 10 and 48, will be resurfaced on Friday 27th May, Monday 30th May and Tuesday 31st May, between 8am and 4pm.

A council spokesperson said:

“During the works there will be no vehicle access along these stretches of road. This is so that the works can be undertaken effectively, safely and to avoid any damage to vehicles.”

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MetroBus operator announced

UPDATE added 25th May 2022.

First West of England has been announced as the operator of a planned new MetroBus service on the soon-to-be-completed Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension. Buses are expected to start running on the route between Bristol Parkway Station and The Mall at Cribbs Causeway in “spring 2023”.

Read more: First Bus announced as operator of new Parkway to Cribbs ‘M4’ MetroBus service

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