A350 highway improvements
A350 Improvements - Nearing Completion
The works to the A350 Phase 3 Improvements through Chippenham are nearing completion. The new section of dual carriageway was opened prior to the Christmas break allowing motorists using the A350 to utilise the new road space. Also before the Christmas break a road safety audit (RSA) was undertaken to ensure the new road has been built correctly and is fit for pupose and most importantly safe to use.
There are a few minor works to be completed over the next few weeks which will be undertaken under small scale localised traffic management. Remaining work includes; outstanding electrical connections, general remedial works and the replacement of damaged signs.
The latest phase of the works process has created a new northbound dual carriageway on the Brook to Badger roundabout section, and significant improvements around Chequers roundabout. The scheme has been funded via the Local Growth Fund, which is run by the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP).
The improvements to the A350 Chippenham bypass will involve:
- Widening the A350 to dual two-lane between Badger and Brook roundabouts, and between Cepen Park South and Chequers roundabouts.
- Additional widening of the A350 for approximately 250 metres north of Cepen Park South and 250 metres immediately south of Chequers, to allow for suitable merge lengths back to single lane running and to allow for two lanes on the A350 approaches to the roundabouts.
- As part of the widening to the south of Chequers, a new formal segregated layby will be provided on the northbound carriageway to replace the existing unsegregated layby.
- Widening the A4 Bath Road westbound approach to Chequers, along with widening the A4 westbound exit, providing two lanes across the junction for A4 westbound traffic.
The main works contract is currently expected to be in place for 13 months (July 2017 to August 2018).
The scheme cost of £7.1m is funded via the Local Growth Fund, which is administered by the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP).
These further dualling works funded through the Local Growth Fund, will complement the first two phases of dualling works that have been undertaken during 2014 and 2015. Both of these schemes were designed to address issues at specific locations, within the funding available at the time, and have been jointly funded by Wiltshire Council and devolved funding streams.
A policy of selective improvements to the A350 has been included in the council's development plans, including the current Wiltshire Core Strategy for a number of years. These have been subject to extensive public consultation.
Given the above and the fact than no planning permission is required for the scheme, no formal public consultation has been undertaken.
The full business case is available from the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
The congestion and safety issues which the schemes are designed to address are a reality now and will worsen with increasing traffic and economic and development growth.
Jointly procuring and delivering the schemes provides efficiencies and better value for money.
Appropriate and safe traffic management measures will be set up to reduce the impact of scheme construction as much as possible. Inevitably, however, there will be some disruption to traffic especially at peak times.
The council has improved the A350 Chippenham bypass as and when funding has become available. Often this means that we have to bid for limited funding to deliver schemes in a prescribed time frame.
Funding for the latest schemes is a result of a successful bid to the Government's Local Growth Fund (as announced in July 2014) which is administered by the SWLEP.
A further funding bid for dualling between Chequers roundabout and Lackham roundabout was submitted in July 2016 as part of a third round of Local Growth Deals. Unfortunately, the bid was not successful in achieving an allocation.
Dualling the section between the Bumpers Farm roundabout and Cepen Park South roundabout has not been progressed at this time due to funding and value for money considerations.
Current Noise levels were measured and future Noise levels forecast as part of the feasibility study. Were predicted noise levels found to be excessive, the scheme would be unlikely to receive DfT funding, or design measures would have been imposed as a condition of funding. This was not deemed to be an issue and so no special measures have been implemented.
There will be a concrete safety barrier separating the proposed northbound and southbound carriageways. This is expected to limit the noise to which local residents are subjected to no more than that currently experienced
Furthermore, a Hot Rolled Asphalt (HRA) surface course with a high stone content has been specified. High stone content surfaces provide quieter running surfaces than traditional HRA surfaces with coated chippings.
Normal practice would be to monitor the operation of a new road for a period of time before considering whether any modifications are needed to aid the flow of traffic. In the case of Bumpers roundabout, we are currently reviewing the operation of this junction with a view to making some further modifications to aid the safe flow of traffic. Should any issues arise with the operation of the other junctions, once the new works are constructed, a similar study may be undertaken.
The posted speed limit is a national limit, which is currently 70mph as both approaches to the roundabout are dualled. There is however a temporary speed restriction of 40mph throughout the site as the construction phase continues.
Outline Business Case - A350