South Gloucestershire Council says the new throughabout at Warmley which opened on Monday is being closely monitored and that some road markings have already been changed.
The council has also been forced this week to issue a response after hundreds of critical comments about various aspects of the throughabout project were posted on Facebook – including the cost of almost £7m which some have branded a waste of money. However, that has done little to appease the critics.
After The Week In learned that some changes were made on Thursday night, a council spokesperson told us: “Following monitoring of the junction and initial feedback, we have asked our contractor to make some minor improvements to the road markings, which took place overnight to avoid disruption.
“The throughabout will continue to be closely monitored over the coming weeks and months. Engineers will be visiting the site, watching video footage, and carrying out regular checks to ensure things are running smoothly, and we thank people for their patience.”
In its response on Facebook the council explained that the £6.9m funding came from the government, administered by the West of England Combined Authority. It continues: “We anticipate it will take time for motorists to get used to the new layout. However, we are pleased that within the first few days of opening, traffic appears to be flowing well.
“We are reminding road users to be vigilant when using the new road layout, especially if they are using the throughabout for the first time. It does look a little different, so motorists are asked to pay attention to the signs, signals and road markings, and approach with care. Motorists are kindly reminded to adhere to the 30mph speed limit.
“There is a high degree of confidence that the Wraxall Road through-about will operate as intended as this was designed and tested using a validated microsimulation model.”
The council said that safety audits would be carried out and acted upon if necessary and the sequencing of traffic signals was being monitored and could be changed if necessary.
The aim of the revised junction is that is is ultimately easier for motorists to enter the junction, particularly during the busy morning and evening peak times.
Regarding concerns raised about pollution, the council said: “The Wraxall Road junction improvement scheme supports our goals to tackle the climate emergency by relieving congestion along this busy strategic route, reducing carbon emissions, and improving air quality.
“The throughabout also improves the resilience of the local road network and makes sustainable modes of travel, such as public transport and walking and cycling, more attractive options within local communities.”
In response to queries about why a flyover or underpass had not been built there, the council said: “Following extensive research we considered the most beneficial option for the Wraxall Road roundabout was a throughabout.
“We took into account the congestion caused during the busiest hours on the ring road, as well as delays to vehicles entering the roundabout using Tower Lane and Wraxall Road. We also looked at what worked well elsewhere in the country. A flyover and an underpass were considered, but they would have been significantly more costly and would be more impactful to local residents and the environment.”
The council added that the new acoustic fencing that has been installed near the Tower Lane junction was a direct replacement for an existing crib wall, which needed to be removed to construct the scheme: “The acoustic assessments carried out in the earlier stages of the scheme did not demonstrate that there would be any receptors affected by the works to a level that would require further mitigation and as such, no additional acoustic barriers have been provided.”
Here are some examples of what people have been saying on Facebook about the throughabout since it opened:
“All this roundabout needed was part time traffic lights at rush hour, what we have now is complete overkill.”
“What happens when the traffic lights fail? At least with a proper roundabout it reverts back to what a roundabout was originally design for.”
“Complete waste of money. This roundabout was only ever congested at rush hour (go figure!). The road signs on the stretch of the ring road from the Asda roundabout towards this ’roundabout’ are appalling, far too close together and very small, by the time you get to the signs you’ve passed them and are then on the roundabout – definitely an accident waiting to happen!”
“Lane markings are awful and so confusing.”
“What a shambles, confusing for people who don’t know the area, and I honestly don’t know who thought of this roundabout system, complete waste of tax payers’ money!”
“I must admit the change made to Hambrook Junction has actually helped with congestion but this throughabout is ridiculous. I went through it today and not only is it confusing you wait longer having to wait for traffic lights.”
“Driven over it several times today, saw people accidentally going thru red lights and it seems overly complicated, but let’s give it time and see.”
“Bristol’s answer to the much hated Magic Roundabout in Swindon?”
“The only problem we found are the traffic lights, you have to make sure you look at the ones above your head and not a few yards in front, as others have said, we almost pulled out as did the car next to us, before we quickly realised. Apart from that, the traffic was flowing really well, we live off Wraxall Road and often had to queue just to get out of the street due to Craven Way being backed up and affecting Wraxall Road, not had a problem since the new road has opened. I do wonder if a set of traffic lights would have done the same job though.”
“Well, I like the new layout! As a regular user of the junction coming from Tower Road I regularly used to get caught in queues that started along Craven Way – it is early days (and it is half term) but I don’t foresee queues that bad in future.”
“It’s really straightforward. I can’t understand the negativity unless your driving ability doesn’t allow you to follow clear instructions.”
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