Ring road roundabout roadworks put on ice after public rejection
PLANS to spend £30 million on changes to five roundabouts on the Avon Ring Road have been put on ice for at least a year.
South Gloucestershire Council says it is postponing a bid for government money for the scheme on the A4174, which included road-widening, extra lanes and turning three more junctions into “throughabouts”, where through traffic could pass straight through.
The decision to put the scheme on hold was made after the results of a 12-week public consultation revealed 84 per cent of the 880 respondents disapproved.
It comes just a week after the reopening of the Wraxall Road junction as a throughabout, or “hamburger roundabout”.
Residents have already branded it “dangerous” and a “huge waste of money”.
The council had hoped it would serve as a template for further improvements on a five-mile stretch between Lyde Green and Kingsfield roundabouts aimed at tackling congestion and stopping drivers using roads through nearby neighbourhoods as rat-runs.
More traffic lights and entry lanes would have been installed and land at the edges of the ring road developed to provide the extra space.
But no dedicated bus lanes were proposed and the plans immediately came under fire from Labour Metro Mayor Dan Norris and Green local politicians who said road-building generated more vehicles.
The local authority said on Tuesday, November 2, that it had listened to residents’ feedback on the £6.9 million changes to Wraxall Road roundabout and would not be submitting its bid to Whitehall for the bigger project until at least late 2022.
It said people wanted more time to become familiar with the revamp, which would now be evaluated, and there were also concerns about the impact and disruption caused by three years of construction work and roadworks.
The council said it would also now take the time to reassure the community of the scheme’s benefits.
South Gloucestershire Council cabinet member for regeneration, environment and strategic infrastructure Steve Reade said: “We would like to thank all those who took part in our consultation and for their detailed feedback on this project.
“You have spoken and we have listened. We will not be submitting a funding bid at this time, but we will feed the comments received back into the proposals.
“Whilst pleased with the first few days’ operation of the new Wraxall Road throughabout scheme, we recognise it’s quite a big change for the area and people need time to become familiar with it. We will continue to monitor it to inform the wider project.
“There remains a strong case both economically and environmentally for junction improvements along the A4174.
“It is anticipated that, with no intervention, the congestion along the ring road and on adjacent roads will worsen in the years to come due to planned local growth.
“The A4174 is an important part of our road network in South Gloucestershire and it is essential we keep traffic moving.
“We also need to keep in focus our climate emergency goals of reducing carbon emissions and encouraging more people to use sustainable transport options.
“Our proposals for the A4174 play a part in delivering this commitment.”
The roundabouts in the proposed project were Lyde Green, the Rosary at Emersons Green, Siston Hill, Deanery Road and Kingsfield.
Funding would have come from the Department for Transport.
By Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Picture: The Siston Hill roundabout would become a 'throughabout', with three lanes through the middle for ring road through traffic, under the plans