Multi-million-pound sustainable transport route open

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Traffic travels under the new bridge at Gipsy Patch Lane.

People living and working in Stoke Gifford, Patchway and Cribbs Causeway have more travel options thanks to a new multi-million-pound transport link.

Led by South Gloucestershire Council, and partly funded by the West of England Combined Authority, the Cribbs Patchway metrobus extension (CPME) is already making walking and cycling, and public transport more attractive options for getting around.

The project, which started construction in the summer of 2019, has created a quick and direct bus route linking Stoke Gifford, Patchway and Cribbs Causeway to Bristol City Centre. It will eventually serve the forthcoming Cribbs Patchway New Neighbourhood, which is being constructed by developers on the former Filton Airfield.

The CPME has also included new shared use paths providing safer routes for pedestrians and cyclists around the area. All of the main construction work is now complete. There remain a few outstanding minor works to complete which will be carried out as soon as possible over the coming months.

Thanks to the hard work of the project team and project partners, and despite the challenges of the global pandemic and the significant engineering demands of the project, the scheme is forecast to complete under budget. The project was originally forecast to cost £57 million but this has been reduced to approximately £47.2 million, although it will take a number of months before the accounts are finalised.

The CPME project has included:
• Building and installing a new 4,260-tonne concrete railway bridge on Gipsy Patch Lane.
• Widening Gipsy Patch Lane to provide bus lanes in both directions.
• Installation of metrobus stops at Parkway Station and along Hatchet Road and Gipsy Patch Lane.
• New shared use paths along Gipsy Patch Lane and at the San Andreas roundabout at Cribbs Causeway, providing safer facilities for pedestrians and cyclists.
• Installation of traffic signals and toucan crossings at the San Andreas roundabout, making the junction safer for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as helping to improve traffic flows in the future when traffic volumes are expected to be higher.
• A new road link at the San Andreas roundabout, which in the future will provide a sustainable transport route into the new Cribbs Patchway New Neighbourhood on the former airfield site.

The scheme has also enabled the launch of the new m4 metrobus service which provides a convenient and realistic alternative to traveling by car for those living or working nearby, contributing to our climate and nature emergency goals.

When the new railway bridge was installed in November 2020 it was the heaviest precast concrete bridge move of its kind ever undertaken in UK. The new wider bridge provides room for bus lanes in each direction and shared use cycle and pedestrian pathways, as well as general traffic lanes, relieving a former traffic pinch point.

Construction work at the railway bridge was carried out by Network Rail and its contractors Alun Griffiths and Balfour Beatty. All other construction work for the project, including the road widening along Gipsy Patch Lane and the improvements to the San Andreas roundabout, was completed by the council’s Streetcare team.

South Gloucestershire Council Cabinet Member for Planning, Regeneration and Infrastructure Councillor Chris Willmore, said: “I am very pleased to see the Cribbs Patchway metrobus extension work completed and the new metrobus service operating.

“It is great that so many people are using the new shared use paths. It is hoped that going forward more people will choose to walk and cycle along this route.

“Along with Network Rail and its contractors the council has completed a significant piece of engineering that has not been without its challenges, and I am proud to say that we have delivered the scheme under budget.

“This new route is a flagship scheme for our net-zero ambitions, encouraging more people to use sustainable travel options as they go about their daily lives.”

Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “If we are going to cut the traffic jams and reduce pollution in the West of England, one thing we’ve got to do is to make it as easy as possible for people to get out of their cars, and to make the switch to hopping on buses – or walking and cycling, particularly for those shorter everyday journeys – instead.

“It’s really exciting to see these important works, funded by a bumper cash injection allocated by my West of England Mayoral Combined Authority, and which will make a big, big difference to those living and working in Cribbs Causeway, Stoke Gifford and beyond, fully completed.

“It means cyclists and pedestrians can and are already enjoying shared use cycle paths, so people feel safe, plus there are brand-new bus lanes, bus stops, not to mention the new m4 service which is already making a positive change for Patchway and other locals.

“This is another step along the path of taking the action necessary to try to reach our really ambitious West of England net-zero target.”

Michael Contopoulos, Network Rail’s project director (buildings and civils), said: “It’s exciting to see that the Cribbs Patchway metrobus extension is now fully operational.

“The installation of the new railway bridge at Gipsy Patch Lane was a vital piece of the puzzle. It presented a number of engineering challenges that were overcome by the talent and perseverance of those on site. Since then, the bridge has been supporting the wider scheme, offering a suitable route for sustainable travel through the area; offering easy access for buses as well as designated cycle lanes and pedestrian walkways.

“I’d like to thank our partners and local residents for their patience throughout the various stages of this project and it’s great to have contributed to the wider sustainable transport aspirations for South Gloucestershire and the West of England.”

CPME has been funded by the West of England Combined Authority and by the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership through the Local Growth Fund and Economic Development Fund.

A stretch of the CPME route, which travels through the Cribbs Patchway New Neighbourhood on the former Filton Airfield, will be built by the site’s developer. Until this link is complete, buses will divert via Hayes Way.

First Bus have been appointed operators of the new m4 service. For information on the timetable and route, visit https://travelwest.info/metrobus/m4.

For information on the CPME, visit www.southglos.gov.uk/cpmetrobus.

Time-lapse video of the work that has taken place at the railway bridge on Gipsy Patch Lane is available on our https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjwCsqpqB4o&feature=youtu.be.