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

At the end of July 2021 all four arms of the Moonrakers junction were reopened and the SMART traffic lights were switched on. The lighting columns and footpaths are due to be completed in September 2021.

A Temporary Traffic Order came into effect in July 2020 and will be in place for 12 months to allow us to complete any additional work that is required, or to account for any unforeseen circumstances.

The documents below provide further information on the planned improvement work:

Contractor Alun Griffiths Ltd will be resurfacing the section of road between Chestnut Avenue and the new pedestrian crossing on Cricklade Road as part of the Moonrakers junction improvement scheme. 

This work will allow the public to have access to the bus stop and shelter on Cricklade Road, south of the pedestrian crossing, and will raise this section of road up to the final surface level, removing the need for the temporary ramp that is currently in place. 

This work will be completed under night-time closures between the hours of 8.00pm and 6.00am, on the following days:

  • 31 August: Northbound single lane closure overnight
  • 1, 2 and 3 September: Full closure overnight from Moonrakers junction to the roundabout on Headlands Grove

We hope that by completing this work during the night-time, disruption to road users will be minimal. A diversion route will be clearly signposted during the night-time closures.

Remaining work to be completed on site:

  • The footpaths around Beechcroft Road have been built up and are awaiting the final surfacing layer. The contractor is also progressing work on the footpath along the shops on Cricklade Road.
  • Our contractor will be installing lighting columns around the junction
  • Resurfacing work will be undertaken at the southern end of the scheme

Utility work on bus lane

We are currently waiting for a utility company to divert their utilities under the bus lane going northbound past the parade on Cricklade Road. Once this work has been programmed into the utility companies' schedule, we expect the work to take a week to complete.

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.

In order to reopen the junction as quickly as possible, the contractor will be working during the day time as well as during the night time and over the weekends where necessary.

Further information

If you wish to contact the Moonrakers project team for further information, or to provide any feedback, you can email us at: moonrakers@swindon.gov.uk.

You can sign up for updates on the scheme via the Moonrakers newsletter.

Previous editions of the newsletter can be found below:

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