Has this work been consulted on?
Yes, this scheme was originally consulted on by Highways England in 2017. The council were asked to bid for funding to carry out part of the original Highways England proposal, between Bitterne Road East up to the city boundary at the Botley Road junction. The council carried out some consultation for the later phases around Ruby Road and Whites Road in October 2018 and as a result have adjusted plans.
Who funded this work?
This £5.8m scheme is mostly funded by central Government's through the National Productivity Investment Fund and Transforming Cities Fund Tranche 1, with the rest funded from Southampton City Council's Local Transport Plan. The works will be carried out by the council’s highways partners Balfour Beatty Living Places.
How and when will the virtual bus lanes work?
The installation of virtual bus lane technology will involve the upgrade of traffic signal technology so that it can be remotely controlled. The buses communicate their location and route and once they are close enough the traffic signals are held on green for longer to allow the approaching bus to get through. This will lead to more reliable bus journey times as well as an increased capacity for vehicles on the road.
Once the new signals are installed, we will need to calibrate the signals and establish reliable communication from buses before the virtual bus lanes can be enabled. We anticipate that the technology will be enabled in the New Year.
Why are multiple junctions being improved at the same time?
Given that improvements are being made to virtually all of the junctions along the A3024, it's not feasible in terms of costs and length of programme to only have one junction being affected at a time.
All road works are carefully planned and co-ordinated, however there is often never an ideal time to deliver works and difficult decisions have to be made that will cause disruption. This scheme is enormously challenging in terms of what is allowed on the network at any given time, but the work has to be delivered efficiently to achieve everything within the budget and the funding has to be spent in a limited time period.
How is it possible to reduce Coates Road to one lane for vehicles?
By removing the gating system at Orpen Road, traffic will be able to use Orpen Road to reach Bursledon Road at all times. This will relieve the congestion at Coates Road and will allow for the cycle lane to be installed.
The capacity to allow vehicles in and out of Orpen Road will be increased by the removal of the bus lane from Orpen Road to Gavan Street, which is being replaced by virtual bus lane technology.