FAQ - Marston Road/Bay Hog Lane ‘gyratory’ system
Q What exactly is the Marston Road/Bay Hog Lane ‘gyratory’ system?
A It is one phase of a larger ‘Poole Bridges Regeneration Initiative (PBRI),’ which is a comprehensive network of roads and other infrastructure to support the regeneration of Poole, particularly relating to the old power station site. Marston Road will be a new link that will move traffic in one direction from West Quay Road to West Street. Traffic will continue down West Street towards the Quay and the existing bridge, flowing in one direction. Traffic can then travel over the existing bridge or continue in one direction through Bay Hog Lane and over the new bridge. As traffic coming across the new bridge from the Hamworthy direction will be moved in one direction along West Quay Road, towards Hunger Hill, the scheme has been dubbed a ‘gyratory’ although it is a bridges access loop.
Q Why does the work have to be done now?
A Officers in Transportation brought the scheme forward in order to save tax-payers around £200,000. It is more prudent to ask the construction company of the new Twin Sails Bridge to amend their plans for the West Quay Road/Bay Hog Lane junction than for the Council to wait for it to be completed then change it again in a few months. Although time is not pressing in terms of expected increases in traffic from the actual development of the power station site, the effective flow of traffic would be compromised during times when the bridges are lifting if the work was delayed. As an example when the existing bridge is raised vehicles would have to be directed (by variable message signs) over the Twin Sails bridge which, without the Marston Road/Bay Hog Lane links would mean manoeuvring an almost 160 degree turn which would be difficult for heavy goods vehicles and risks them blocking the road.
Q Is it true that the public weren’t consulted on the scheme and that the proposed scheme is over ten years old and obsolete?
A Town planning and road design take several years to design. With public consultation and other consultative processes included, the time is drawn out considerably from initial design to actual construction. The Poole Bridges Regeneration Initiative as a whole has been decades in the making. The road scheme was presented as an initial plan in 2001 for early consultation with local people. Since then it has been brought back in to the public arena via Transportation Advisory Group meetings (2004, 2007, 2008 and 2011), Planning Committee (2011), the Economy Overview and Scrutiny Committee (2011) and Full Council (2011). There has been ample opportunity for public involvement through the consultation processes for the Local Transportation Plans 1, 2 and 3. Many reviews, amendments and adjustments have been made since then to accommodate views, changes in proposed developments and ideas and plans for place shaping.
Q I have heard that ‘gyratories’ lead to drivers using it as a racetrack. What can be done to ensure traffic does not speed around the proposed loop scheme?
A There is a national speed limit within built up areas of 30 miles per hour. This scheme will incorporate speed limit signs and interactive signs to remind drivers of that limit. If speed becomes an issue, there are options to calm/slow traffic further by introducing lower limits, such as 20 mph. Speed will be monitored closely and limits enforced.
Q Were the Police consulted on the proposed scheme and if so, what was there response as it will be them that will have to manage safety and speeding?
A The Traffic Management team from Dorset Police gave their full support for the proposed traffic scheme, regarding them as ‘essential’ for the management of road traffic using the new bridge.
Q What would happen if the scheme didn’t go ahead in terms of traffic being able to go across the new bridge?
A When the new bridge opens, there will be an interactive electronic ‘variable
message’ sign system which will serve to direct traffic across one bridge whilst the other is lifting. Therefore, if the existing bridge was lifting, without the Marston Road/Bay Hog Lane road scheme in place vehicles travelling southward along West Street towards it (which is what happens now) would have to turn sharply northwards to travel along West Quay Road to access the Twin Sails Bridge. Large vehicles, in particular, risk getting stuck if they misjudge the turn and would cause considerable delays and/or damage to infrastructure. It is estimated that an additional £20,000 would have to be spent on modifying that turn area to lessen such risks.
Q I have heard there was a lot of opposition to the proposed scheme. How many people objected and were their views taken into consideration?
A 38 responses were received, 37 of those were objections. From those 17 included comments about the ‘gyratory’ becoming a race-track. The objections were very carefully considered. However many comments were based on misinformation and subjective criticism based on not liking or wanting the scheme but without objective rationales. An alternative scheme was submitted, which many people who submitted objections supported. This scheme proposed that traffic kept to West Quay Road, away from West Street and that West Quay Road became two-way all along. There are many reasons why this scheme was not adopted. These include that West Quay Road would have to be widened to accommodate turning lanes and that would mean using land that the Council does not own.
Q Can the scheme ever be changed if, for example, large numbers of people stop using their cars and more cyclists are using the roads?
A Road systems always have the capacity and potential to be changed in the course of time.