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Plans unveiled for new-look Farmers Roundabout • New traffic light system • More lanes • Work will take 8/9 months

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existing Farmers roundabout

PLANS have been unveiled for improvements to be made to the A350 Farmers Roundabout near Asda. A new traffic signalling system, more lanes and extensive carriageway repairs will ‘reduce queues and improve journey times’ says Wiltshire Council.

Work is expected to begin next winter and it is estimated that the improvements will take eight to nine months to complete. Whilst work is ongoing there will be temporary traffic lights, lane closures during off-peak hours and full road closures at night.

The plans were presented to the town council this week by Wiltshire Council’s highway improvement officer, Stephen Wilson, at a community development committee meeting. He explained that the current infrastructure of the roundabout is ‘coming to the end of its lifespan.’ The improvements will include: • New traffic light signalling. • Increased space around the roundabout by building into the existing island. • More lanes approaching the roundabout and around it. • Extensive carriageway repairs. • Repairs to the Western Way.

Stephen Wilson said, “We are going to be developing new road space, so there will be more tarmac out there to create more capacity, we need to get more vehicles through the junction. To improve the use of the junction, and to control it, a traffic signal system will come into place. It’s going to be a partial system, not all the arms of the roundabout will be signalised. But we’re bringing the traffic signals in to maximise the through-flow of traffic.

“The traffic signal system will be linked with the Asda junction and the signals at the A365. That doesn’t mean that they’re all going to be turning green simultaneously, but there will be a series of sensors in the road and the traffic controller will detect where queues build up and will change the signals accordingly. This is a real time responsive system.

“As well as new infrastructure and new road space, we’re also going to be trying to make better use of the existing road space. Some traffic lanes are being under utilised at the moment, so we are going to be changing some of the lane mitigations and we are going to be getting more out of what is there at the moment.

“We’ll be coming forward with some infrastructure improvements. The drainage – I was shocked looking at the drainage network out there, the drainage goes into the River Avon catchment area, but there is no petrol interceptor. So if there was a major spill, there is nothing stopping that contamination going into the main river. So as part of these works, we’ll be addressing this. The curbs and splitter islands need a lot of attention and we’ll be doing that and the carriageway resurfacing will be extensive. There will also be clearer road markings to guide people around the roundabout in the correct lane.”

Improvements will also be made to Western Way, the road connecting Farmers Roundabout with Semington Roundabout. Plans include improving the exit from Semington Roundabout onto Western Way, and new street lighting and repairs to Challymead Bridge, which is showing signs of structural deterioration caused by water damage.

While the work is being carried out, Wiltshire Council anticipates the following: • Temporary traffic signals at both Asda and A365 junctions. • No works during weekday peak hours involving lane closures. • Lane closures during weekday off peak period 9.30am – 3.30pm. • Contractors encouraged to work evenings post 6.30pm and possibly weekend working. • Night time working will be needed – including full road closures. • Identifying potential embargos for some works – such as Melksham Carnival and other events in the town.

“Traffic management is going to be key and it’s going to be difficult,” said Stephen Wilson, “it’s going to be a difficult scheme to pull together and to manage. We need to balance the need to do the works efficiently and in a timely manner with the needs of the highway users. That’s a very difficult balance to achieve.”

In response to the presentation, Mayor, cllr Adrienne Westbrook said, “It’s going to be a logistical nightmare, but that said, hopefully at the end of it we’ll have the finished product that you are showing us.

“As a town council we are so excited at the possibility of these splitter islands being sorted, this is the gateway to our town and at present it is disgusting. Weeds 3ft to 6ft high are horrendous. Any works done need to be beneficial to the town and its gateway.

“Please can Wiltshire Council liaise with us about what is going to be done?”

A contractor for the project is expected to be selected in the late summer. Wiltshire Council will be launching a dedicated website for the works in the near future and can be contacted by email: A350farmersimprovements@wiltshire.gov.uk

51 Responses to Plans unveiled for new-look Farmers Roundabout • New traffic light system • More lanes • Work will take 8/9 months

  1. Martin Harris

    April 12, 2018 at 11:17 am

    It looks like a good idea, however, it’ll only work if motorists pay attention to and follow the roadside and on-road directions. The intervening chaos will have to be put up with.

  2. rebecca Mitchenetr

    April 12, 2018 at 11:25 am

    Stephen Wilson says it will look better, so hopefully this means the trees on the roundabout won’t all be cut down. Also the “splitter islands” actually look better with the greenery of weeds than stretches of tarmac, can the new ones be grassed not covered with tarmac, this would help with drainage of rain water too.

    To make a really big difference to flow the entrance to Asda should be moved and incorporated into the roundabout, stupid that it never was really!

  3. Jon Finch

    April 12, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    Mmm more traffic lights on the A350 that’s not going to end well. In the short stretch of road between Nortree Motors and Asda there are already 4 sets of lights and a mini roundabout, adding lights to a roundabout that force cars to stop on it will Im sure cause more problems than they cure.Generally when the lights fail on a traffic light controlled roundabout the traffic flow is improved. Adding more lanes. why not incorporate a separate lane from the A350 onto the Holt road saving this traffic from even entering the roundabout the same with the exit onto Broughton Road from the Chippenham direction there are 2 lanes on Broughton Road that could accommodate it. Raising the carriageway by about 400mm as passes the side of Countrywide towards Holt will prevent almost all the holdups due to flooding. There are few bridges that cross the River Avon and at times of flooding more vehicles rely on the A350 adding this flood prevention work now would seem to make sense.
    Adding an alternative pedestrian crossing either an under pass or bridge to prevent holding up the traffic would keep the vehicles flowing rather than stopping them at the Asda lights for extended periods. As has already been pointed out the Asda entrance should have been off the roundabout in the first place.Could this be achieved as well?
    If the Wiltshire motorists have to put up with 8 to 9 months of holdups then please get it right first time but also do it to as high a standard as is possible to solve all the issues.
    The A350 is a major road through our county and the work being carried out around Chippenham will only have a knock on effect on this stretch of road with all the breaks in traffic flow hold ups will only get worse.
    It is the front door to Melksham and for a change it would be great if a major development affecting the people of Melksham went ahead without being watered down and delayed.

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