'Let's cut 52 weeks of ring road hell to 22 weeks'

Published on: 30 Jan 2017

REPAIRS to the Bromley Heath viaduct - which are set to cause tailbacks of up to three miles on the Avon Ring Road - are due to start in June.

South Gloucestershire councillors have voted to go ahead with the essential maintenance works on the 1960s southern viaduct, closing both lanes on the westbound carriageway. All traffic in both directions will use the northern viaduct.

The Environment and Community Services Committee heard that two schemes - structural repairs and an improved cycle and pedestrian route - would be carried out at the same time, reducing the total maximum time on site from two years to one.

Both schemes are funded by the Department of Transport to a total of £5.9 million.

The councillors were told that if the Government could come up with another £3.7 million, the works could be accelerated and completed in 22 weeks rather than 52.

Councillor Jon Hunt (Downend) said this would be the best possible solution.

"Now that people know this needs to be done, they want it started and finished in the shortest possible time. We must write to our MPs and to the

Government urging them to ask for this extra money," he said.

Residents and councillors told the meeting that the cost to individuals and businesses of the delays caused by jams during the works would amount to far more than £3.7 million.

Councillor Ian Boulton (Staple Hill) said: @We have to lobby very hard to get this money from the Government. We should remind ministers that South Gloucestershire is an economic powerhouse. It would be good value for money to provide this extra funding because so much of our local wealth depends on transport links along the ring road."

Residents pointed out that just a day before the meeting an accident on the ring road near UWE had caused delays and gridlock for miles around.

Malcolm Coles, who lives in Heathfields, supported the call for an accelerated programme.

"There is only one option - 22 weeks. The money has to be found," he said.

Planning and transport lead member Councillor Colin Hunt said the authority would continue to press for the additional funding to get the work done as soon as possible.

The council's head of transport Mark King said after the meeting: “We appreciate that this is one of the busiest sections of the A4174 and understand that this will cause significant delays and inconvenience and we apologise in advance. We will be doing everything we can to keep the public regularly informed about the viaduct work and how to plan their journeys accordingly.

For more information about the work schedule visit www. southglos.gov.uk/bhviaduct

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