BUS stops and bus lanes will be introduced along the length of the M32 after it is reclassified as an A road, says Bristol City Council.
The authority says the move would provide better and more reliable bus services for thousands of commuters, and would allow people living in St Paul’s, Eastville and St Werburghs to catch metrobus services which currently pass through on the motorway without stopping.
Updates on plans for the M32, which also include a park and ride at a still-undecided site near the Hambrook junction, were given to city councillors on the growth and regeneration scrutiny commission on September 28.
Head of city transport Adam Crowther said: “One of the key issues about metrobus was that it doesn’t stop in St Paul’s.
“The M32 is a motorway so it’s very difficult to have a stopping service, so we’re missing areas like St Paul’s, Easton, St Werburghs. They’re missing out on connections and good-quality bus routes.”
Changes are planned over several years and will be split into two phases, with work led by the city council and West of England Combined Authority.
Separate work is also planned by National Highways to carry out a £200 million refurbishment of the M32’s Eastville flyover, which runs over Junction 2 near Ikea, starting in 2026 or 2027.
The first phase of work would be to reclassify the M32 as an A road. It would still be classed as a trunk road and managed by National Highways.
Councillors were told land will be bought for a new park and ride site, which will then also need planning permission. But a park and ride has been discussed for at least two decades, with no acceptable site having been found.
New bus lanes will be created inbound from the park and ride and Hambrook junction into the city, and then outbound from Eastville to the park and ride.
Mr Crowther said bus lanes would not be installed along the whole length until the National Highways repairs of the Eastville flyover take place, as this will involve removing the central reservation.
The second phase will ‘de-trunk’ the road, which would mean the city council takes over its management, and would install bus lanes and stops along the whole length of the road.
By Alex Seabrook, Local Democracy Reporting Service