Bridge closure causes traffic chaos at Bristol ring road junction

-Credit: (Image: Google)
-Credit: (Image: Google)


Many Bristol Live readers have been expressing their concerns in our comments section with the current traffic turmoil at a junction on Bristol's ring road. Many are worried that the chaos may persist for years, as efforts to reduce air pollution have so far been unsuccessful. Thousands of local residents are demanding the end of this trial, arguing that the restrictions have so far only resulted in increased queues and extended travel times.

Five years ago South Gloucestershire Council made changes to the Hambrook junction on the A4174, linking Frenchay and Hambrook via Bristol Road. These included banning right turns in an effort to reduce harmful levels of nitrogen dioxide.

Now, drivers heading north on Bristol Road are forced to use the M32 roundabout instead of being able to drive straight across the junction. And thanks to the Badminton Road bridge closure, the traffic jams have gone from bad to "Are we there yet?" levels of patience-testing.

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Liberal Democrat Cllr Chris Willmore has responded to the demands for change: "We can’t take that junction arrangement off unless the junction is in compliance, or somebody can wave a magic wand and come up with a different solution that would get the junction in compliance. It doesn’t matter how much political campaigning you do, you couldn’t find a solution because there isn’t a solution to it until the air quality levels come down.”

Commenter Chiefchupachup writes: ”So the current layout was in place for four years and there was no improvement? Why do they think that the air quality will improve once the bridge is replaced when it didn't prior to the works starting? Engines at idle, or indeed stop/start, for the Winterbourne turn will produce far less emissions than having to travel to the M32 roundabout and back."

Reader Delboy51 agrees: “I honestly think the council are pulling the wool over our eyes, the pollution will not go down if there are more cars and lorries using this junction. They said it was a trial for 18 months. Wow, that's 42 extra months. Most of all, to take up to 2 years to replace the bridge is crazy.”

Nick24 is annoyed: “The situation at Hambrook is ridiculous as is the trial about air pollution. It just moves the air pollution down to the M32 roundabout junction. They should never have changed the sensible running at the Hambrook junction. The A432 bridge problem should have made them aware that by returning the Hambrook junction to normality would have helped. But no, SGC has done little to alleviate the problems caused by the bridge. They blocked off roads that could have been made one-way, etc.”

1nfoman however is more positive: “I think it's worked quite well for me, if I am coming from the Willy wicket towards the M32 and Filton it always seems to be a very smooth journey.”

Over on Facebook Alan Lankester agrees: “What chaos? There are fewer phases to the lights so less queuing, less idling traffic, less braking, and lower pollution overall. A small proportion of total traffic has to go about 400 metres further, but some of the previous Bradley Stoke rat runners now use the new road through Harry Stoke instead so less traffic in Hambrook. At evening rush hour the queues used to gridlock back beyond the M32 junction as well but that is much less frequent now unless there are accidents on the M4."

Gary Morris Photography can’t see a problem either: “What chaos? Never an issue when I come through here in my Old Ford Focus.”

Geof Preece thinks: ”Double the amount of pollution, you have to go up to the roundabout and come back down the other side.” Gary Cousins warns: ”it won't change until Badminton Rd is reopened and it's going to be at least another 18 months before it happens."

Have you been affected by the traffic at this junction? Do you feel traffic calming is helping the environment? have your say in our comments section.