Changes at junction 'cut journey times' for Yate drivers
A BAN on some turns at the Hambrook traffic lights has almost halved journey times for drivers on the Avon Ring Road, according to South Gloucestershire Council.
But the restrictions are making school buses late and increasing congestion and pollution on surrounding roads, say parish councillors.
Bans on traffic from Frenchay and Bromley Heath accessing the B4058 Bristol Road towards Winterbourne at the junction with the A4174 were introduced in August, in a bid to cut the amount of toxic nitrogen dioxide (NO2) from stationary traffic.
South Gloucestershire Council was ordered to take action by the government as pollution levels were above legal limits at the junction, used by traffic from Yate heading along the ring road towards Bristol on the M32, as well as Filton and the westbound M4.
The council says it has been monitoring journey times around the lights as an indication of the likelihood of reductions in NO2.
A spokesperson said: "Initial results indicate we are almost halving morning peak journey times between Wick Wick and the M32 compared to this time last year, however it is too early to draw firm conclusions, and we must consider that not all students are back following the summer break (in particular university students).
"We hope that the shorter journey times will achieve the desired reduction in NO2, but it will be a number of months before we have that evidence.”
However, Winterbourne Parish council’s Frenchay ward councillors – Adrian Collins, Paul Kembery, Charlie Watkins and Hugh Whatley – said pollution and congestion had been made worse.
The return of school traffic had been compounded by road works at Abbey Wood, which were leading to blockages at the M32 roundabout that traffic from Frenchay now has to use to access the northbound B4058.
They called for a new box junction at the roundabout to stop "inconsiderate motorists", driving from the southbound M32 towards Filton, from blocking the lanes used for the detour for Frenchay traffic heading towards Winterbourne.
They said: "The school bus to the Winterbourne Academy has been turning up late due to the hold ups and this has been especially distressing for the new intake who were worried about arriving at school 10-20 minutes late.
"The whole point of the temporary traffic measure is to reduce CO2/NOx emissions and this is making matters worse.
"These pressure points really need joined-up thinking to try and help the situation long term – the junction from Frenchay needs a redesign and yellow hatched areas implemented to help keep traffic flowing."