Wiltshire Council and Bradford on Avon Town Council are working in partnership on a major social distancing project in the town, which will see space for pedestrians widened on key roads in the town centre.
The plans, which are due to be implemented next week, will see traffic access on the Town Bridge managed by traffic lights, and a new one-way system implemented on Market Street and Silver Street, bringing significant benefits to pedestrians and visitors to the town, and improving air quality.
The temporary scheme is expected to last at least six months, and potentially up to 18. Throughout its duration it will be monitored by cameras that will provide anonymised data on traffic flows and more to inform the next steps for the project. If successful, and depending on the feedback from residents and businesses, there is potential to make the changes permanent.
Cllr Bridget Wayman, Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to make social distancing in Bradford on Avon easier and safer for pedestrians and visitors, and at the same time improve air quality in the town.
“We recognise that queues on the Town Bridge could become long, but we’ll be monitoring this throughout the six months of the scheme and will make changes as appropriate.
“We also want to encourage people that make short car journeys across the town to walk or cycle where possible, while those that use the town as a thoroughfare to and from Bath and the M4 should seek alternative routes to avoid the Town Bridge and one-way system.
“This project is a great example of partnership working between Wiltshire Council and Bradford on Avon Town Council, and will bring many benefits to the town, its residents and businesses.”
Cllr Dom Newton, Leader of Bradford on Avon Town Council and Chair of the Highways and Transport Committee, said: “This temporary scheme will provide safer pedestrian routes across the town centre to allow for social distancing, while also providing a great deal of information that will inform decisions about traffic flow into the future – building on our strategic aims of improving air quality and pedestrian safety in the town centre.
“This is not a small investment for us as a Town Council – but it is a huge opportunity to both understand and hopefully improve the long-term issue of Bradford on Avon being a through-route for regional traffic, and improving conditions in the centre of our beautiful town.”
Traffic that approaches the Town Bridge from the south will then have to turn left, up Market Street, which will become a one-way street. The footways will also be significantly widened to accommodate more pedestrians and allow effective social distancing.
Silver Street will also be turned into a one-way street, with traffic only allowed to travel down it from the north, and the footways also widened here to enable shoppers and other pedestrians to socially distance.
Cyclists will have an alternative route to Silver Street from the Town Bridge via Bridge Yard development through that new development up Mill Lane, to the top end of Silver Street.