Park and Ride improvements for infamous Gloucestershire bottleneck

CGI rendering of Elmbridge Park & Ride

CGI rendering of Elmbridge Park & Ride - Credit: Archant

A 1,000-vehicle park and ride scheme, including junction improvements and bus priority measures at Elmbridge Court roundabout on the A40 between Cheltenham and Gloucester could be on the way if a planning application gets the go-ahead this summer.

New Highways Contract for Gloucestershire

New Highways Contract for Gloucestershire - Credit: NG

The application for the estimated £16.5 million Elmbridge Transport Scheme has been submitted to Gloucestershire County Council and it is hoped that a decision by the planning authority will be made by the summer. A change in the law in July 2013 meant that the scheme is no longer classed as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project so Gloucestershire County Council will now be the planning authority making the decision on the application.

The Elmbridge Court roundabout between Cheltenham and Gloucester is already one of the busiest traffic junctions in the county. The proposed scheme would tackle this congestion ‘hot spot’ on the A40 and improve public transport between Cheltenham, Churchdown and Gloucester.

The proposed scheme includes a 1,000 space park and ride site next to the Elmbridge Court Business Park, with a high frequency bus service serving Gloucester city centre, and linking in with Cheltenham town centre and Arle Court park and ride, a series of improvements to Elmbridge Court roundabout to improve its capacity and bus priority measures on the approach to Arle Court roundabout in Cheltenham.

New contract for county roads starts

Amey has been named as the preferred bidder for Gloucestershire County Council’s highway and transport services. The company already has valuable experience of working in the county, running the street scene contract for Gloucester City Council. It also runs similar contracts in Birmingham, Hampshire and Sheffield.

The new contract is for an initial five years but could be extended up to 11 years, which means it’s worth between £130million and £450million overall.

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The previous contract with Skanska (when the partnership was known as Gloucestershire Highways), ended on 31st March 2014.

Cllr Vernon Smith, cabinet member for highways said, “I am confident that our new highways partnership with Amey will provide quality services and value for money for local tax payers. Thanks to the extra investment we’ve made in our roads and this new partnership, I expect Gloucestershire’s network to go from strength to strength.”

Mel Ewell, Chief Executive for Amey, said: “We are committed to delivering quality highways services in Gloucestershire and working closely with the County Council to deliver their vision of a safe and sustainable transport network. By drawing on our existing footprint in the local area along with our national highways experience we can provide a high quality, yet cost efficient services for the county.”

On your bikes!

For regular commuters to break the habit of using their car and switching to saddle takes commitment – but not just from the cyclist. With parking at Pure Offices Business Park, Quedgeley, Gloucester becoming congested, manager Steve Preston knew cycling could be the solution but it was up to Pure Offices to provide the facilities to encourage people to make the switch.

Pure Offices has a growing portfolio of 18 separate business park locations across the country. Steve said “there are now over 315 centre users at Kestrel Court,

Quedgeley. Surprisingly many of our users live less than 5 miles away and with a Park & Ride facility nearby and great access roads, we realised we needed to provide resources to enable them to change their commuting habits”.

Steve is a natural ambassador for the scheme, as he is an avid cyclist.