Have your say on A4 road to the future

HUGE changes could be made to the A4 road linking Keynsham and Saltford with Bath and Bristol in an attempt to boost bus, cycling, and walking options.

Six miles of bus lanes and over nine miles of bike lanes could be installed on and alongside the A4 under the plans, but a spokesperson for the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) said: “This is at a very early stage and nothing is set in stone.”

The changes could see two lanes on the Keynsham bypass replaced with bus lanes and the Bristol and Bath Railway Path extended further into Bath.

People who live, work, and travel along the route are being asked to have their say on the plans in a consultation that was launched recently.

A WECA spokesperson said: “Residents first gave their views on the ‘Bath to Bristol Corridor’ project in 2021 and this feedback has shaped today’s updated plans.

“Responses from residents showed some of their key priorities included more reliable bus services, greener spaces and cleaner air.

“But it is recognised that these proposals will not be good for everyone, which is why residents are being urged to take part in the six-week consultation and help shape the plans on the table.”

The proposals are part of a £540m project by WECA to improve public transport across the region and are being worked on in partnership with Bath and North East Somerset Council.

In Keynsham, bus lanes would be installed along the length of the bypass in each direction, leaving just one lane on each side of the road for all other traffic. The speed limit will also be dropped from 70mph to 50mph.

Along the Bristol-bound side of the bypass, separated from the road by shrubbery and landscaping, a walking and cycling route would be installed.

A “mobility hub” would also be set up on the bypass at the edge of the Memorial Park, a bus stop with shelters, screens showing live bus times, bike storage, mobile phone charging, toilets, and wi-fi.

The rules would also be changed to allow people to cycle through the Memorial Park, and a new cycle route through the park would be created. Some trees could be removed for this to be created but would be replaced, the plans state.

New “quiet routes” would be set up along Station Road connecting to the High Street, and along Bath Road connecting to Wellsway Sports Centre.

A new one-way bus lane could also be installed from the Broadmead roundabout on the edge of Keynsham towards Saltford. New bus stops would also be created along this route and pavements would be widened where possible.

A new crossing could also be created by the Esso garage on this stretch of road.

On the other side of town, beyond the Hicks Gate roundabout, the existing bus lanes would be extended to the Emery Road junction, reducing the lanes available for other drivers.

A “mobility hub” could be created in the future by the Hicks Gate roundabout, but does not form part of the current plans.

In Saltford, a network of “quiet routes” could be introduced. These could be set up along sections of Grange Road and Manor Road, as well as along North Road and the High Street to connect to the Bristol and Bath Railway Path, and between the Globe Roundabout and Bath Spa University campus.

Small stretches of bus lane could also be created between Manor Road and Uplands Road running towards Bristol, and approaching the Globe Roundabout running towards Bath. New pedestrian and cycle crossings would also be installed on the roundabout.

The plans could extend the Bristol and Bath Railway Path further through Bath, while also cutting four miles off the route to Bristol city centre.

A stretch of disused railway between Brassmill Lane and Station Road could be added to the cycle path under the plans, allowing cyclists to stay on the path longer when entering Bath rather than immediately joining the road.

Once cyclists leave Bath on the path, it currently takes them towards Bristol following the general direction of the River Avon before turning away from the river near Keynsham and looping around the Bristol suburbs, coming into the centre of Bristol from the North.

Under these proposals, a new two-way cycle route could follow the A4 from Saltford to Keynsham and on to Totterdown in Bristol, bypassing the Bristol suburbs, and giving people a quicker option for cycling than the existing route.

There are also plans to widen the current path and pinch points and install new lighting.

You can see the full details of the plans at https://b2b.haveyoursaywest.co.uk/

A consultation on the plans will run until 1 October, with people who would be impacted by the plans asked to come along to consultation events and to send their feedback to WECA.

Drop-in consultation events will take place as follows:

Keynsham: Monday September 11 (3pm-8pm) at St John’s Parish Hall; and on Friday September 22 (12pm-5pm) at Keynsham Library.

Saltford: Tuesday September 19 (2pm-7pm) at Saltford Hall.

You can also register for an online consultation webinar – covering the changes in Bath, Keynsham, and Saltford – on Thursday September 7 (6.30pm-8pm).

You can register for the webinar or find out more about how to have your say at https://b2b.haveyoursaywest.co.uk/index.php?contentid=30

You can share your response to the planned changes in an online questionnaire at https://b2b.haveyoursaywest.co.uk/index.php?contentid=34

You can also email your views to bathtobristol@westofengland-ca.gov.uk or write to: Bath to Bristol A4 Consultation team, West of England Combined Authority, 70 Redcliff St, Redcliffe, Bristol BS1 6AL

John Wimperis, Local Democracy Reporting Service

Pictured, how the A4 through Saltford could look under the plans (image: West of England Combined Authority)