Bans on turns at Hambrook traffic lights to cut air pollution
BANS on some turns at the Hambrook traffic lights are being brought in on an ‘experimental’ basis next month.
South Gloucestershire Council is trying to cut levels of toxic nitrogen dioxide at the junction of the A4174 Avon Ring Road and the B4058 Bristol Road between Frenchay and Winterbourne, which are currently above the legal air pollution limit.
Vehicles coming from Downend and Emersons Green will no longer be able to turn right towards Hambrook and Winterbourne: a turn often made by drivers heading towards Bradley Stoke.
Traffic heading towards the ring road from Frenchay will be banned from turning right or going straight ahead and will only be able to turn left towards the M32.
It means the only access to the northbound B4058 will be from the eastbound ring road, so all traffic heading towards Winterbourne will have go around the roundabout at the M32 junction 1.
The council will introduce the restrictions from August 11 under powers known as an Experimental Traffic Order, which will run for up to 18 months before the council decides whether to make the changes permanent.
The council said the restrictions “will allow east and westbound traffic to flow more efficiently and help reduce queues” and follow a government directive to improve air quality “in the shortest time possible” at the junction, which exceeds national limits of 40 micrograms per cubic metre of nitrogen dioxide.
It says people driving along the ring road are exposed to these higher levels of nitrogen dioxide, which are within the limit at nearby homes. Cutting the number of vehicles spending time stopped at the lights is seen as a quick way of reducing the pollution.
The council has apologised for “any inconvenience caused” to drivers who will be forced to drive around the M32 roundabout junction in order to access the B4058 towards Winterbourne.
A six-month public consultation on the changes, which are similar to those introduced during recent work to replace the Bromley Heath Viaduct, will start once they are introduced.
The westbound bus lane from the traffic lights to the M32 junction will also be removed.
Turnings for southbound traffic on the B4058 from Winterbourne will be unchanged, and pedestrian and cycle crossings will be retained.
Council cabinet member for transport Steve Reade said: “These changes follow the government’s Joint Air Quality Unit direction, which we are obliged to comply with, to improve air quality on this part of the A4174 ring road in the shortest time possible for all road users.
“Our traffic modelling has shown that the changes will allow east and westbound traffic on the ring road to flow more efficiently and help reduce queues, and that the removal of limited movements at the interchange will improve traffic flow for all vehicles.
“I have also asked that the road markings around the roundabout be refreshed so that users will follow the correct lane for their direction of travel, so reducing inadvertent delays.
“It is important to note that this is an experimental order that can be amended through time, so if we see a particular type of road user is negatively affected then the order can be adjusted.”
For more information visit the council's website.