Hambrook junction changes are 'making matters worse'
RESTRICTIONS at one of the main junctions for traffic heading to Winterbourne have increased pollution and made children late for school, say councillors.
South Gloucestershire Council banned traffic heading towards the village on the B4058 Bristol Road from crossing straight over the Hambrook traffic lights from Frenchay in August.
Right turns from the westbound A4174 onto Bristol Road were also banned. Instead drivers have to carry on to the nearby M32 junction and double back, before turning left from the eastbound ring road.
The bans were made under an 'experimental traffic order', which will run for 18 months. It was introduced in a bid to cut the amount of toxic nitrogen dioxide (NO2) from stationary traffic, after the council was ordered to take action by the government as pollution levels at the junction were above legal limits.
But Winterbourne Parish Council’s Frenchay ward councillors – Adrian Collins, Paul Kembery, Charlie Watkins and Hugh Whatley – said pollution and congestion had been made worse on other roads.
The return of school traffic had been compounded by road works at Abbey Wood, which were leading to blockages at the M32 roundabout that traffic from Frenchay now has to use to access the northbound B4058.
They called for a new box junction at the roundabout to stop "inconsiderate motorists", driving from the southbound M32 towards Filton, from blocking the lanes used for the detour for Frenchay traffic heading towards Winterbourne.
They said: "The school bus to the Winterbourne Academy has been turning up late due to the hold ups and this has been especially distressing for the new intake, who were worried about arriving at school 10-20 minutes late.
"The whole point of the temporary traffic measure is to reduce CO2/NOx emissions and this is making matters worse.
"Frenchay routes to Downend via Cleevewood Bridge are heavier and pollution and waiting times increased here as well.
"These pressure points really need joined-up thinking to try and help the situation long term – the junction from Frenchay needs a redesign and yellow hatched areas implemented to help keep traffic flowing."
The council says the changes have almost halved journey times for drivers on the Avon Ring Road.
It has been monitoring journey times around the lights as an indication of the likelihood of reductions in NO2.
A council spokesperson said: "Initial results indicate we are almost halving morning peak journey times between Wick Wick and the M32 compared to this time last year, however it is too early to draw firm conclusions, and we must consider that not all students are back following the summer break (in particular university students).
"We hope that the shorter journey times will achieve the desired reduction in NO2, but it will be a number of months before we have that evidence.”