Fresh look at diversions before replacement work

SOUTH Gloucestershire Council is reviewing traffic diversions for drivers facing two more years of delays following the closure of the M4 Badminton Road bridge.

National Highways, which is responsible for the bridge, says the cracked concrete structure carrying the A432 Badminton Road over the M4 between Downend and Yate must be replaced.

A new bridge will not be ready until early 2026 – a timescale the agency says is “much shorter than normal”.

The 57-year-old structure next to the Wick Wick roundabout cannot be repaired – and a temporary replacement will not be built while the work is underway.

The council is looking at its current diversion routes and will hold a “public engagement” programme before deciding whether to bring in any changes.

The closure of the bridge next to the Wick Wick roundabout, where the A432 Badminton Road meets the A4174 Avon Ring Road, cut off the main route from Downend to Yate, Coalpit Heath and Frampton Cotterell, resulting in 16,000 vehicles a day being diverted through narrow country roads.

South Gloucestershire Council leader Claire Young said council road engineers will work with National Highways to review all diversion routes, to help smooth traffic movement around the area.

She said: “We are as disappointed as residents are to hear this news, although we recognise National Highways are acting as a matter of safety in the interest of all bridge and motorway users.

“Our highways team is working closely with National Highways and will continue to work to keep people moving as freely as possible around the area and will endeavor to help fill any transport gaps where possible.”

People living and working on diversion routes have complained of speeding drivers, road rage and many minor accidents.

Cllr Young told a recent meeting of Westerleigh Parish Council that four times as many vehicles as usual were using Henfield Road, between Westerleigh Road and Coalpit Heath, since the diversion had been put in place.

She said police officers were looking at enforcing speed limits after complaints of speeding through 30mph lanes.

Westerleigh Parish Council chair Rob McCullough said many measures, including new traffic lights in Henfield Road, had helped but there have been knock-on effects, for example nearby Ram Hill being used as a cut-through, despite being single-lane in places.

He called for the council to consider reopening the right turn at the Hambrook lights on the A4174, painting a new white line along the middle of Henfield Road, and stopping non-local lorries from using it.

Mr McCullough said a new route for cyclists and pedestrians – who are currently still able to use the Badminton Road bridge – will also need to be worked out.