Mead Way improvements

Questions and answers

Impacts of the scheme

How will it impact upon me?

A range of temporary traffic management measures will be required to implement the works. We will give regular updates on any impact on drivers, but it is anticipated these will consist of:

  • road closures (in sections)
  • two and four way traffic signals
  • lane closures
  • possible closure of underpass to pedestrian/cyclist traffic
  • temporary closure, restriction or diversion of National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 45

Will it affect bus services?

Two bus routes (19 and 19A) currently use Mead Way and the roadworks will impact on these services. The bus diversion route for the first stage of the closure will be from Mead Way roundabout via Great Western Way, Mannington Lane, Westlea Drive, Rivenhall Road, Corton Crescent to the Link Centre and then the usual route from the Link Centre. The same route will be used in both directions.

With this diversion, the only stops that won't be served will be the Westlea Fire Station.

Will trees be lost or removed?

Some trees have already been cleared as part of the preparatory works ahead of the road widening and to allow for service diversions. Where possible, mitigation measures will be adopted through the planting of replacement trees.

How will the works be phased?

The works will be phased as follows:

Phase one:
  • Mead roundabout to Westmead roundabout: This section of road was placed under a full 24/7 closure. A diversion route was in place and access to businesses was maintained at all times.
  • First sectional closure of Westmead roundabout under temporary traffic lights: Access to Westmead businesses was maintained. Traffic entering and exiting Westmead Drive used the Withymead roundabout approach.

This work was completed in March 2021.

Phase two:
  • Second sectional closure of Westmead roundabout under temporary traffic lights: Access to Westmead industrial estate will be maintained at all times via Mead roundabout. There will be no access to Stonehill Green. Access to Stonehill Green will be via The Chesters and buses will remain diverted via Great Western Way.
  • Westmead roundabout to Withymead roundabout: This section of road will be placed under a full 24/7 closure. A diversion route will be in place which will be clearly sign posted. Access to Westmead industrial estate will be maintained at all times via Mead roundabout.

Preparatory work for this phase began in January 2021, construction began in March 2021. Our revised programme shows a completion date of November 2021, and we are still aiming to fully reopen Mead Way by then.

Why has the project been delayed?

The pandemic has affected many firms and we weren’t able to progress with the first phase of the scheme as quickly as we would've liked. There are several factors which feed into this, some of these are:

  • Social distancing measures restricting the number of workers on site. This was also affected by the limited welfare facilities on site for crews that need to socially distance themselves in order to stay safe.
  • Some utility companies furloughed some of their staff
  • Some of our subcontractors needed to travel to and stay in Swindon so when hotels were closed, they couldn’t stay in the area
  • Travelling to and from site proved difficult as it wasn't possible for crews to travel together due to safety restrictions

Improvements planned

How will this improve congestion on Meads roundabout?

The extra lane on Mead Way will provide additional space for cars exiting Meads roundabout. Paddington Drive was included in the modelling work to confirm there would be no adverse effect on this road. In fact, modelling showed there is a predicted journey time improvement at Paddington Drive in the afternoon peak going westbound.

How will this help motorists travelling southbound?

Although the key purpose of this scheme is to improve journey times travelling northbound, the change from roundabout to traffic lights at the Westmead junction is predicted to improve southbound journey times in the morning peak.

How much extra capacity will the new section of road have?

The additional lane will accommodate circa. 100 cars in stationary traffic. Design capacity for urban single carriageway roads with one lane in each direction would indicatively have a capacity of 1,300 vehicles per hour. With two lanes, this increases to 2,600 vehicles per hour.

Why are you only widening Mead Way up until Withymead roundabout?

The purpose of the scheme is to address the Westmead roundabout junction. This was identified as working beyond capacity in the future, causing significant queuing issues northbound along that particular section of Mead Way, which then impacted on traffic using Meads roundabout. The blocking of Meads roundabout in the afternoon rush hour is of particular concern, as this is a key strategic route connecting Swindon town centre to the M4.

Traffic flow patterns show that the proportion of northbound traffic that turns off Mead Way at Withymead roundabout means that widening wouldn’t necessarily provide as much improvement beyond this point, when compared to the section between Meads and Withymead, where the majority of northbound traffic travels straight along the corridor.

Why are there no plans to add another lane in the other direction where there are long queues at peak times?

We are currently working within the extents of the highway boundary. Any future consideration would require compulsory purchase of the adjacent land, which our budget would not allow for.

Funding

What is the cost of the proposed scheme?

The total project cost is approximately £4 million. This includes the design, utility diversions, construction and contingencies.

Who is funding the scheme?

Department for Transport is funding this scheme. In 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 Department for Transport is £2.53 million and this will be matched by £1.5 million in Section 106 contribution that is already held by the council specifically for improvements on Mead Way.

If more money becomes available in the future, will the council look to make similar improvements elsewhere along the road?

We will always seek to improve the highway infrastructure, which will be prioritised where the need is greatest. If other areas along Mead Way are considered a priority, then this will be considered.

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