Viaduct repairs: Council looks for 'least bad' option

Published on: 21 Dec 2016

COUNCILLORS will vote this month on how essential repairs to the busiest part of the Avon Ring Road near Downend should be carried out.

The stretch of road from Bromley Heath roundabout towards Hambrook traffic lights, which goes over the river Frome, already carries 55,000 cars and 500 cyclists a day and these numbers are set to increase because of the extra housing and employment being created.

Officials say that if the maintenance is not carried out, the road might have to shut altogether within a few years. South Gloucestershire Council has got money from the Government for the works, and it is consulting local people about the potential impact before members of the Environment and Community Services Committee meet on January 18 to decide how to implement them.

There are two viaducts - the original one, which was built in 1968, and the northern one, which was built in 1988, enabling two lanes of traffic in each direction.

The council needs to shut the older, southern viaduct to carry out strengthening works. This will also enable the creation of a new cantilever composite bridge to allow a safer, separate crossing for cyclists and pedestrians.

This will mean two-way, single-lane traffic on the northern viaduct, with inevitable delays on the ring road and increased use of rat runs as drivers try to avoid the jams.

Mark King, the council's highways chief, told a meeting of about 30 residents at Bromley Heath Infant School that there were a number of options for the works, including carrying it out over 12 months, starting next summer, or staggering it over five to seven years.

Downend Councillor Jon Hunt said there was a possibility of reducing the time from 52 weeks to 30 by allowing works in the evenings and at weekends, provided additional funds could be found. Working 24/7 is also being considered.

Councillor Hunt urged residents to contact him or other local councillors with their opinions and concerns about the impact of the works, and to lobby local MPs and the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling for the additional money needed.

Mr King said the council was committed to dialogue with local people throughout the road improvement project.

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