M32 bus lanes to ‘turbocharge’ network

NEW bus lanes planned along the M32 would “turbocharge” the bus network and give South Gloucestershire services a critical boost, it has been claimed.

National Highways is planning £200 million of repairs to the Eastville flyover, which takes the motorway over the Muller road roundabout near Ikea, starting in two to three years’ time.

Bristol City Council’s cabinet member for transport, Don Alexander, says this will be the catalyst for reallocating more space to buses, with bus stops along the road planned too.

Cllr Alexander told a cabinet meeting in February: “For us as a region it’s very important that that £200 million isn’t spent just recreating what’s basically a 1960s piece of transport infrastructure, because there’s so many more possibilities for using that space and that amount of money.

“If we could reassign some of the space to buses that is currently given to cars, then the amount of patronage would turbocharge our bus network, not just here in Bristol, but in South Gloucestershire, too. We’ve done the calculations on that.

“It’s important for Bristol but it’s critical for South Gloucestershire, when many of their buses are requiring ongoing subsidy.

“As a region and as a unitary authority, we want that project to move at pace. We don’t want it to be kicked down the road. It’s a very challenging project, we recognise that, but the benefits of it potentially are absolutely enormous.”

The long-term plans include reclassifying the M32 as an A-road and building bus lanes along the whole length.

Another key part of the plan is building a new park and ride, near Junction 1 of the M32 at Hambrook, although no site has been found after at least 20 years of discussions.

By Alex Seabrook, Local Democracy Reporting Service