Heritage, Legacy & Quality – The work of the Bath and North East Somerset Council Highways & Traffic Service
Sam Wilson, July 11, 2016
The remit of Bath and North East Somerset’s Highways and Traffic Service is extremely varied. They have been tasked with not only protecting the heritage of the area, but also building a legacy that will live on for generations. On top of this, they take a huge amount of responsibility for the safety of their residents, workers and visitors.
The quality of work that Bath and North East Somerset Council hold as standard is high and as such they require the highest levels of skill, drive and care from their people. The service ensures that each and every project they undertake is carried out to their high standards and, as such, each one stands out as an example of the capabilities and talents of the service.
In 2013, the team worked closely with partners Sustrans to build and create the iconic Two Tunnel Greenway.
Using the track-bed of the former Somerset and Dorset Railway the Two Tunnels Greenway has created a direct, traffic free route into the heart of Bath’s city for those wishing to travel on foot or bicycle.
The Combe Down Tunnel, is just over one mile and is now the UK’s longest cycle and walking tunnel. It lit up by low-level LED lighting so bike lights aren’t needed, there is also piped music at certain points of the tunnel which adds to the atmosphere!
The project and partnership with Sustrans was a great success and in 2014 was shortlisted for the ‘Network Rail Partnership Award’ at the ‘National Railway Heritage Awards.’
Originally constructed as a railway bridge, Midland Bridge was transferred to Bath City Council in the 1920s to carry the public highway.
As the bridge required numerous steel repairs and repainting to prolong its life, a scheme to refurbish the bridge was put together.
With the contract awarded to Raymond Brown Ltd in 2015, works were carried out in six months, delivered to programme and budget. Once again these works involved consultation with third parties, namely the Environment Agency and the Canals and Rivers Trust due to the interface with the navigable Main River. The works cost a total of £1.2m.
Bath Transportation Package (BTP)
Bath and North East Somerset Council worked together to identify key areas that would help to ensure that the legacy that they left would be one that genuinely benefitted future generations. Some key factors in this were the significant issue of congestion, which was causing poor air quality and an infrastructure that wasn’t fit for economic growth.
The BTP aimed to tackle both of these issue head on. The initiative included the expansion of Park and Ride facilities, removing barriers to public transport, the better use of technology to manage traffic and enhancements in the city centre. The significant works have seen 14,700 metres of fibre optic cable laid, 39 signalised junctions and crossings upgraded, 870 Park and Ride spaces created and 375 wheelchair accessible buses stops constructed.
The £26.5m scheme was completed in October 2015.
Bath Quays Waterside, seeks to significantly enhance the riverside, creating better access and a more beautiful and enjoyable environment for local people and visitors to the city. This very important infrastructure project will deliver flood defences for the City and will then be complemented and completed by the forthcoming development of ‘Bath Quays’.
Through facilitating the development of Bath Quays this project will contribute to the delivery of the Bath City Riverside Enterprise Area and the creation of around 2,500 new homes, 650,000 square feet of new workspace and up to 9,000 new jobs for local people.
Following significant congestion, poor air quality and a traffic dominated environment on Widcombe Parade in Bath, a highway scheme was devised and implemented.
Carried out in co-ordination with the community, the scheme diverted southbound traffic out of Widcombe, reversed the traffic flows for local traffic and implemented public realm improvements, increasing the size of pedestrian areas. Costing £1.56m, the works were completed in September 2015.
The team work closely with other departments to help facilitate a range of different and exciting events throughout the year.
These range from high profile cycling events such as the Tour of Britain and the Sky Line Ride to running events such as the Bath Half Marathon and the Bath Bristol Marathon.
There are also lots of other varied events throughout the year such as the Christmas Market, University open days and Bath Home Rugby games. The team are experts at ensuring that everything runs smoothly on these days.
Bath and North East Somerset Council Highways and Traffic Service will continue to pioneer innovative projects that protect the identity of the area, build for the future and protect its residents, striving to set new standards and place themselves as an exemplar within the industry.
To be part of this exciting future, head over to www.allroadspointbathnes.co.uk.