Reopening of Station Road junction delayed AGAIN – until 24th February

Photo of works under way on a railway embankment.
Work to extend a wing of the new railway bridge on Gipsy Patch Lane, in order to stabilise the adjacent embankment (February 2023).

A further overrun on remedial work taking place on the railway embankment adjacent to the new bridge on Gipsy Patch Lane means that the Station Road junction is now not expected to reopen until Wednesday 24th February 2023.

Network Rail and its contractor Balfour Beatty are currently carrying out work to extend the north-eastern wing of the bridge in order to stabilise the railway embankment.

When the work began in mid-November 2022, South Gloucestershire Council said it expected it to be completed by Wednesday 21st December, but the estimated completion date later slipped to Thursday 19th January 2023 – an overrun of four weeks.

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More recently road signs at the site have been altered to indicate a revised completion date of Wednesday 24th February 2023 – a further slippage of five weeks.

The new railway bridge was installed as part of the £57 million Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension scheme and the first MetroBus service (designated M4) began running on the route on Sunday 22nd January 2023.

Embarrassingly for the council, the buses are currently unable to use the newly constructed eastbound bus lane under the bridge as it is currently being used as a site compound by Balfour Beatty.

Photo of a double decker bus passing under a railway bridge.
The first-ever scheduled journey on the new M4 MetroBus route (Bristol city centre direction) passes under the new railway bridge on Gipsy Patch Lane at 08:40 on Sunday 22nd January 2023.

In response to a query from the Journal, a spokesperson for South Gloucestershire Council said:

“Unfortunately, due to a number of unforeseen factors this work will take longer to complete than originally publicised. These factors include the need to carefully phase the works to ensure temporary ground stability and safe working practices are maintained in what is a very constrained space, as well as working around several buried utilities. The work being carried out also requires access to third-party land and negotiations with the landowner are continuing.”


The spokesperson continued:

“The work will be completed as quickly and safely as possible but will continue into February. While the work is completed the closure of the Station Road junction and a small section of the bus lane on Gipsy Patch Lane will need to remain in place. We will continue to keep the community updated and apologise for any disruption caused by this work.”

Journal readers have expressed annoyance that access to Station Road for pedestrians and cyclists has not been possible during the current works, despite South Gloucestershire Council originally saying that it would be.

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In response to a query from the Journal, a council spokesperson said:

“Network Rail’s contractor has not made us aware that access for pedestrians and cyclists has been removed. We have contacted Network Rail to request that access is provided. We apologise for any confusion caused by this.”

Access for pedestrians and cyclists was still unavailable when the Journal’s editor visited the site yesterday (Thursday 9th February 2023).

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Work resumes

UPDATE added 23rd February 2023.

Photo of works under way on a railway embankment.
Photo taken on Thursday 23rd February 2023 after work at the site had resumed.

Cllr Keith Cranney has the posted the following message on social media. He says it was forwarded to local councillors on Friday 17th February by the Strategic Projects Manager at SGC.

“We have now received confirmation that Network Rail’s contractors will recommence the work to the embankment on the north east corner of the new bridge on Monday [20th February], following agreement with the landowner and tenant. Network Rail’s programme suggests that the work will be complete by the end of March, with the opening of Station Road and the bus lane under the bridge.”

Work at the site was observed to have resumed by Thursday 23rd February (see photo above). Note that the work area has been extended to the north by the width of two Heras fence panels (look at the top of the embankment and compare with the first photo in this post).

However, the road signs are still indicating that Station Road will be closed “until 24th February”, which is clearly incorrect given the state of the site.

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Revised completion date

UPDATE added 3rd March 2023.

Statement sent to stakeholders today (Friday 3rd March 2023):

Work to extend a retaining wall on the railway embankment next to the Station Road junction on Gipsy Patch Lane will complete by the end of March.

The work, which is being carried out by Network Rail and its contractor, will be completed as quickly and safely as possible.

We apologise for any ongoing disruption caused by this work.

The majority of the work will take place Monday to Friday during normal daytime hours. There will need to be some weekend working but Network Rail and its contractor’s will keep this to lighter operations to keep the noise levels to a minimum.

The closure of the Station Road junction and a small section of the bus lane on Gipsy Patch Lane will need to remain in place until the work is completed.

If you have any questions about this work call the Network Rail 24-hour helpline on 03457 11 41 41.

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  1. This work was brought to the attention of both SGlos and Network Rail at a monthly liaison group meeting some twelve months ago, there is no excuse for the delay. As Chair of the Parish Council I have made complaints at the lack of progress to SGlos Executive on a regular basis with little impact. One would have thought with the start of the M4 some urgency would have been given to have both bus lanes open. I doubt very much that the February date will be met but again I have asked the question.

  2. It used to be standard in works contracts with outside contractors to have a contract clause where ‘fines’ were imposed if the contractors failed to meet the agreed completion dates.

    It would be interesting to know how much money if any, is being witheld, or returned to Network rail and to the Councils responsible for the road and pavements of this area, as compensation for staggeringly poor surveying, planning and engineering. This figure ought to be public information given the farce of this whole bridge fiasco. Was there an appropriate completion date clause?

    Certainly the council deserves some monetary compensation to be used on behalf of the public who live or work in this part of Bristol.

    Did cycle and pedestrian access get re-instated as promised – again compensation could be offered by the contractors / engineering design company to the local council to be spent on enhancing public facilities as compensation to the local public.

    The contracting companies certainly need to try to get some good PR after embarrassing themselves over the entire bridge replacement farce. I can’t imagine what fool would ever employ any of them on public works ever again.

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