Work could start on £29m bypass next year
PLANS are expected to be put forward this year for a bypass in Stoke Gifford to ease traffic congestion on the northern fringe of Bristol.
The £29-million Stoke Gifford Link Road would run from Great Stoke Way on the northern side of the railway line near Parkway Station and join up with the Avon Ring Road near the M32 roundabout.
South Gloucestershire councillors will not be asked to consider planning consent until the council's Core Strategy is in place – a planning blueprint for the whole area.
A planning inspector is likely to hold an inquiry in April on the blueprint and announce his decision a few weeks later.
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It means the planning application for the new road could be considered in the summer or early autumn.
If all goes to schedule, then work on the road could start in 2013 and be completed within three years.
The link road would be a single lane in each direction with an additional priority lane for bendy buses and ordinary buses. The bridge over the railway line would be four lanes to allow for expansion in the future.
One of the biggest headaches for drivers in the area is the poor access to Stoke Gifford and Bradley Stoke which means they have to funnel under the narrow railway bridge in Brierly Furlong. But the new bypass would provide a shorter, faster route from the ring road to the thousands of homes north of the railway line.
The road is back on the council's agenda as part of the rapid bus network which would see a £102-million route from the northern fringe and through Bristol to Hengrove.
The network is going ahead following the Government's approval for funding in December. Two other routes – the £50-million Ashton Vale to Temple Meads route and the £45-million South Bristol Link – were approved by the Department for Transport in November.
The link road was considered ten years ago to help ease congestion caused by the development of 8,000 homes at Bradley Stoke and other estates. But it was abandoned because there was not enough money to pay for it and it was in danger of wrecking plans for a tram system that was then being considered.
Cabinet Councillor Brian Allinson, who is in charge of South Gloucestershire Council's transport department, said: "Now that the North Fringe to Hengrove Package has been granted programme entry status by ministers, we are working with Department for Transport officials toward gaining full approval.
"One of the most important components of the North Fringe to Hengrove Package is the Stoke Gifford Transport Link. This will be a new route across the railway line to link up the Ring Road with Great Stoke Way, which is currently a dual carriageway that just comes to a sudden end. It has, though, always been envisaged that it would be completed at some point in the future because it's the only realistic way of tackling traffic congestion by ensuring a rapid transit route from Patchway, Bradley Stoke and Stoke Gifford into the city centre."