Money ‘won’t solve traffic delays on Gloucester Rd’

MAJOR changes are planned on four key routes into Bristol to make buses more punctual and journey times much quicker.

The planned works, including probable new bus lanes as well as upgrades for pedestrians and cyclists, will mean big changes to the Portway, Bath Road, the A38, and the A37 and A4018. 

But the A38 Gloucester Road and Cheltenham Road is not included in Bristol City Council’s £200 million programme of changes to the city’s transport network in spite of the regular congestion.

Some works are planned to improve walking and cycling routes near the new arena in Filton, which is due to open in early 2026, but nothing major is planned for buses on the Gloucester Road, despite this being the key route from the city centre to the arena.

Green Cllr Emma Edwards, representing Bishopston and Ashley Down, told a Bristol City Council growth and regeneration scrutiny meeting: “There’s a lot of concern in those residential areas either side of the road. It already doesn’t take a lot for the Gloucester Road to get absolutely jam-packed. It happened the other day when there were some roadworks and it was just gridlocked. So the people who live on either side of the Gloucester Road really suffer when that happens.”

Transport strategy officer Pete Woodhouse said: “I’m not aware of anything specific about interventions on the A38.”

Labour Cllr Don Alexander, cabinet member for transport, added: “The problem with Gloucester Road is not the lack of funding, it’s the lack of space.”

Bristol has been granted the £200 million by the government to spend up until 2027, in a deal called the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement.

Updates on the projects were given to the meeting on March 22. More details should become clear of each project as individual business cases go to the cabinet or the West of England Combined Authority to get signed off.

Buses will be given extra priority along the Portway corridor, from Jacob’s Wells Road roundabout in the south to the Avonmouth roundabout in the north. Walking and cycling routes will be upgraded from the park and ride to the city centre. Transport bosses are developing different designs and few details are available, but they expect to submit an outline business case to the combined authority in December.

One major change to the Portway will create access to the park and ride for buses coming from the north. Currently buses can only access the park and ride from the south, but adding northern access would mean the site could be served from the motorway, as well as providing services to the new arena in Filton. A new train station is also under construction at the park and ride, expected to open this summer.

A new bus lane and cycle lane will be built on the A4018 between Charlton Road and Crow Lane, in the north of the city. This project is shortly going out to tender, and is forecast to be completed by winter next year. 

By Alex Seabrook, Local Democracy Reporting Service