Work to replace a railway bridge on Gipsy Patch Lane, Stoke Gifford, has been completed.
The new 4,260-tonne railway bridge installed on Gipsy Patch Lane was the heaviest precast concrete bridge move of its kind ever undertaken in UK.
The new wider bridge, which is part of the Cribbs Patchway metrobus extension (CPME), will provide room for new bus lanes in each direction and shared use cycle and pedestrian pathways, as well as general traffic lanes.
These measures are designed to encourage people to use more sustainable transport options and will benefit road users by relieving the pinch point in traffic flow at the railway bridge, reducing traffic queuing, improving metrobus and other local bus journey times, and improving facilities for pedestrians and cyclists.
Gipsy Patch Lane bridge replacement
Network Rail and its contractor Alun Griffiths carried out the bridge replacement work on behalf of South Gloucestershire Council during a rail line closure.
Work was carried out night and day to remove the track and overhead line equipment, demolish the former bridge on Gipsy Patch Lane, move the new bridge into position and reinstall the track and overhead line equipment.
Unfortunately, due to an engineering problem experienced during the bridge move, this work took longer than expected and the closure of the rail line had to be extended. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the local community for their patience during this phase of work.
South Gloucestershire Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Environment and Strategic Infrastructure Cllr Steve Reade said: “It is good to see the new railway bridge in place on Gipsy Patch Lane after so much hard work.
“This has been a significant engineering project that involved the heaviest lift of its kind in the UK and was not without risk and not without its challenges.
“The bridge replacement work marks a crucial milestone for the CPME project, which will help improve public transport in South Gloucestershire by extending the popular metrobus service.
“The new bridge will not only alleviate a known pinch point on a busy route but will also improve facilities for cyclists and pedestrians and provide infrastructure for a new bus route.
“We would like to thank people for their continued patience as we progress to the next phase of work, which will include lowering the road below the new bridge.”
CPME is funded by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and by the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership through the Local Growth Fund.
West of England Mayor Tim Bowles said: “We are now a significant step closer to seeing metrobus extended to Cribbs Patchway bringing high quality, frequent services to more people in South Gloucestershire. This give people genuine alternatives to using their car to get to the new jobs we’re bringing to the region at sites like Horizon 38, Filton Enterprise Area and Cribbs Causeway as well as making sure that new homes and communities are connected to a sustainable transport network.”
Gipsy Patch Lane closure
Gipsy Patch Lane remains closed to all road users at this time to enable further works on the carriageway. This work is to make way for the new bus lanes and shared use cycle and pedestrian pathways.
There are national design standards that must be complied with whenever a new bridge is built, which stipulate how much headroom is required under a new bridge. It is not possible to raise the bridge because of the railway line, so in order to comply with the standards for a new bridge, the only option is to lower the road.
This work will be carried out during the daytime, between the hours of 7.30am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. Network Rail, and its contractor, will work to minimise any disruption caused.
Work to be completed includes:
- Demolition and excavation of the existing carriageway underneath the bridge
- Re-grading the junction with Station Road to tie-in with the new carriageway level
- Utility diversions underneath the new cycle and pedestrian pathways
- Installation of new surface water drainage system, including pumping station
- Installation of new street lighting
- Construction of new carriageway and pathways
- New traffic signs, road markings and landscaping/planting.
Gipsy Patch Lane will remain closed until July 2021, while this work is completed.
While Gipsy Patch Lane is closed to traffic the signed diversion route for motorists will remain via Bradley Stoke Way and the A38.
Pedestrian access and shuttle bus service
The footpath under the railway bridge on Gipsy Patch Lane remains closed at this time. We recognise the importance of this cycle/walking route and will reopen it when it is safe to do so. Network Rail and its contractor Alun Griffiths are working towards re-opening a route for pedestrians and cyclists. We will update the wider community when this is available.
Network Rail are continuing to run a shuttle bus service for pedestrians needing to access either side of the Gipsy Patch Lane railway bridge. This service is free of charge and will operate for the duration of time the railway bridge is closed to pedestrians.
The shuttle bus is running weekdays, weekends and is also available overnight. See the project website for full timetable details.
The daytime shuttle bus service is being operated by Stagecoach and the overnight service is being operated by South West Minibuses. Measures are in place to comply with Covid-19 guidance. Please remember, the wearing of face coverings on public transport is compulsory.
A number of pedestrian and cycling diversion routes are also available during the closure. Details of these can also be found on the project website.
Station Road junction closure
The Station Road junction with Gipsy Patch Lane also remains closed to vehicles. Pedestrians and cyclists are still able to access Station Road via Gipsy Patch Lane.
The Station Road junction closure is needed to enable Gipsy Patch Lane to be excavated down to the required new carriageway level, for new utilities and new drainage infrastructure to be installed and for the Station Road junction to be excavated down to tie-in with Gipsy Patch Lane.
The diversion route for vehicles to reach Station Road will remain via Clay Lane and Little Stoke Lane. Please be aware that access to businesses to the southern end of Station Road is restricted by a footbridge with a height restriction of 4.2 metres.
Dates and timeframes may be subject to further change and we will continue to keep the community up to date via social media and our website. Any updates will be posted on social media via www.facebook.com/sgloscpme and the project webpage at www.southglos.gov.uk/cpmetrobus. We would also encourage people to sign up to our project newsletter, which can be done by visiting our webpage.
Any questions or issues about the work can be raised via the Network Rail 24-hour helpline on 03457 11 41 41.