Moonrakers junction improvements
A number of highway improvements are programmed to be delivered to support the introduction of a Quality Bus Corridor between Tadpole Garden Village in North Swindon and the town centre via St Andrews, Groundwell, Gorse Hill and Broadgreen.
The main focus of these improvements will be at the Moonrakers junction in Stratton, by increasing capacity for traffic using the junction as well as allowing further priority for the buses. The junction connects Cricklade Road (A4311), Whitworth Road and Beechcroft Road.
The improvement works will see the double roundabout replaced with a traffic light controlled junction which will improve traffic flow, reduce journey times and make it more accessible for buses, cyclists and pedestrians.
The works will cost around £2.8m which is being funded by the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) Local Growth Fund as part of works across the town to improve bus links.
The following changes will be made to improve the junction:
- Changing the double roundabout to a traffic light controlled junction
- Creating a bus lane from Chestnut Avenue to the Moonrakers junction that cyclists will also be able to use
- Creating a dedicated left turn from Cricklade Road to Beechcroft Road when approaching from the north, which will reduce the number of cars using the junction
- Improving the area/space outside Clive Parade and rejuvenating the plant pots
- Re-positioning the traffic island at Headlands Grove further into Headlands Grove to reduce the speed of south bound vehicles
- Introducing new pedestrian crossings at the junction
Final remedial works are currently taking place on site. For more information on the remaining work left to complete, please refer to the ‘What new work is coming up and how will it impact upon me’ drop down.
The documents below provide further information on the improvement work:
On week commencing 21 February, our contractor will be connecting the lighting columns north of Moonrakers junction, while Virgin will be installing a cable south of the junction that will provide power to the new bus shelter which is due to be installed by Clear Channel in mid-March.
We do not expect these works to impact on motorists.
The timings of services 9, 17, 21, 51, 52 and 107 which currently use the Moonrakers junction, are expected to be impacted by the improvement works.
With the help of Central Swindon North Parish Council, the silver birch trees that were originally in large pots on Cricklade Road have been re-homed in the nearby Hreod Burna Urban Forest. This important work has ensured that the trees are preserved and remain in the Parish. The large plant pots have been temporarily moved into storage. The pots will be returning to site with new trees at the end of the scheme.
Where possible, the planting of replacement trees will be included in the scheme.
Cars are able to pass through a traffic light controlled junction faster, which helps to reduce queuing. The traffic lights can also be controlled depending on the volume and direction of traffic. The addition of a dedicated left turn from Cricklade Road to Beechcroft Road will also minimise the number of vehicles using the junction. These improvements will not stop congestion but they will help to ease it.
Yes, the changes will remove areas where people currently park their cars illegally such as the bus stop outside Clive Parade. There is a public car park available at Clive Parade for those wishing to use the shops.
The total project cost is approximately £2.8 million. This includes the design, utility diversions, construction and contingencies.
The Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is funding this scheme through their Local Growth Fund. In November 2017, the council commissioned a study which identified the need for this scheme and subsequently, a successful bid for funding was made. The total grant from the LEP is £2.8 million.
We will always seek to improve the highway infrastructure, which will be prioritised where the need is greatest. If other areas around the Moonrakers junction are identified as a priority, then they will be considered.
A number of designs were considered with some larger options, such as one big roundabout, discounted because they would require the purchasing and demolition of homes near the junction. The chosen layout will provide the best outcome for all road users within the space available.
Professional, tried and tested, independent traffic modelling has shown that a traffic light controlled junction is the best option for this site. The new traffic lights will use sensors and technology to monitor, control and respond to traffic conditions.
The aim of these ‘smart’ traffic lights is to reduce day-to-day congestion by regulating the flow of motorists passing through the junction, prioritising lanes with heavier traffic flow in real time and improving bus punctuality by prioritising buses entering the junction. The double roundabout and previous traffic light system did not have these capabilities.
In response to resident feedback during our consultation in 2018, we are also introducing a dedicated left turn from Cricklade Road to Beechcroft Road for road users approaching from the north. This additional design feature has not been in place at the junction previously and will help to divert some traffic away from the junction.
We are required to spend the LEP funding by a certain date or we risk losing it. A few of our other schemes are financed in a similar way, which can sometimes result in the timescales of different projects overlapping. Work has been done, and is ongoing, to minimise the impact of the different schemes on each other and the wider road network in the borough.
If you wish to contact the Moonrakers project team for further information, or to provide any feedback, you can email us at: email@example.com.