Wichelstowe southern access scheme

Wichelstowe southern access questions and answers

Wichelstowe Southern Access image

Why is this work necessary now?

This new access road is a requirement of the planning permission for the wider Wichelstowe site, so is necessary for the completion of the Wichelstowe development. With the development of 4,500 new houses, the creation of a new access road into Wichelstowe will divert some of this additional traffic away from Junction 16, reducing congestion here and in other areas of the town.

Why have you chosen this design?

A number of factors including:

  • construction costs and risk
  • impact on transport,
  • environmental impacts
  • visual impact
  • programmes that have been considered to best inform a preferred design that can deliver value for money

Why not just put a bridge over the M4 instead of an underpass?

The M4 sits high above the surrounding fields at this location so with the chosen design, there will be less disruption to motorway traffic than building up the approaching road and lifting a bridge to sit across the M4. The underpass can be constructed in phases with minimal disruption.

How do we find out more about the scheme?

These webpages, the Swindon Borough Council Facebook page and the contractor website will provide additional information, photos and drawings as the scheme progresses.

Where will the soil for the M4 embankments be coming from?

Apart from soil already on site taken during the construction of the haul road, soil has been brought in from other Griffiths projects within the South West region. Stone has been delivered from the Tarmac Quarry at Stancombe, near Bristol. Griffiths are part of the Tarmac Group and Stancombe is the regional headquarters.

How will lorries that are loaded with stone for the road approach the site?

  • M4 Junction 16 onto B4005 – Site compound off Hay Lane (for works south of M4)
  • M4 Junction 16 onto B4005, left onto B4005 Wharf Road, left onto Mill Lane, left onto Foxham Way, right onto Peglars Way, onto Scott Lane and South Leaze track (for work north of the M4)
  • From work access within our Traffic Management on the M4 East bound and West bound (for the underpass works)

Will any trees be planted as a consequence of the works?

Yes, there is a landscaping part to the project. The overall design of the works will feed in to the Wichelstowe development masterplan to include vegetation and landscaping.

How will the environment be protected?

The Western receptor site was created prior to the scheme to home translocated wildlife. It features tussocky grassland, new woodland, hedgerow and three new ecology ponds. So far, we have translocated 40 great crested newts, 670 slowworms, 13 grass snakes and 559 toads.

In addition, two existing ponds and four new ecology ponds on either side of the road, will be aligned to promote connectivity via ecology underpasses. Tree and hedgerow planting will enhance key wildlife corridors, seed the natural regeneration of scrub and woodland and create oak tree groves to frame the road.

Wildlife connectivity provisions have also been implemented on site to allow wildlife to safely move around.

These include:

  • Wildlife sensitive lighting for nocturnal species such as bats, badgers and otters
  • Hop-overs using crowns of trees to encourage bats to fly over the road in line with hedgerows
  • Two ecology underpasses to allow badgers, amphibians, reptiles, water vole and otters to pass under the road between wildlife areas
  • Wildlife kerbs and swales to reduce the likelihood of amphibians getting trapped in the drainage system or on the road
  • New bat roost boxes on trees

Throughout the project, we will continue to compare wildlife surveys before and during the work to ensure the success of our rewilding and the protection of the local wildlife.

What are the working hours on site?

Generally, 7.30am until 6.00pm

Will there be any night works?

Mostly on the M4 only with traffic management (TM) movements. We will carry out other works at night where possible, such as tarmac laying. There are safety issues with some engineering work at night, as well as noise issues, so we won’t be doing those.

What will happen to any Public Rights of Way during construction?

Any Public Rights of Way affected by the works will be diverted, if it is possible to maintain a safe alternative around the works and associated vehicle movements for site. If they cannot be diverted, they will be temporarily closed.

How is the contractor mitigating noise, dust and mud on the road?

We have a dedicated road sweeper vehicle that will sweep the compound and approach roads when wet. Water bowsers will be deployed during prolonged dry spells to suppress dust.

What pedestrian access will there be around the underpass?

The new access road will accommodate pedestrians and cyclists so they can move from Wharf Road and Hay Lane through the new underpass below the M4. The canal culvert will be constructed under the newly realigned section of Wharf Road to be completed and connected by the Wiltshire and Berkshire Canal Trust, at a future date.

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