The South Bristol Link starts at the A370 Long Ashton bypass and ends at Hengrove Park. New paths for cycling and walking will be built along its 4.5km length.
The South Bristol Link will reduce congestion in south Bristol by taking traffic away from unsuitable roads, particularly those to and from the west. There are health benefits too. By reducing congestion, the South Bristol Link will reduce carbon emissions.
The South Bristol Link will also improve public transport by making it easier and quicker to travel from the south to the north of the city and to Bristol Temple Meads railway station and Bristol Airport.
As part of the MetroBus network, the South Bristol Link will connect parts of Bristol poorly served by public transport, making it easier for more people to access education and job opportunities which were previously difficult to travel to.
Construction started in early 2015 and will be completed by winter 2016. Alun Griffiths are the main company building the South Bristol Link. Their website has more information about construction.
Every £1 spent on South Bristol Link results in £12.30 of economic benefits to the areaThere is no doubt that building public transport infrastructure is very expensive. The South Bristol Link will cost £45 million to build 4.5kms of road, express MetroBus route, and walking and cycling paths. But the roads in south Bristol suffer from high levels of congestion in rush hours. Traffic congestion increases journey times for everyone and affects the reliability of public transport. The Joint Local Transport Plan estimates that congestion will cost the area’s economy £600 million by 2016. The economic benefits of the South Bristol Link are very high. Every eligible £1 spent will result in £12.30 of economic benefits to the area – that’s nearly half a billion pounds of benefit. South Bristol wants to get moving and it badly needs improvement in infrastructure and reduction in congestion to help.
Preserving the lime kilnsThe South Bristol Link will preserve three historic lime kilns near Winford Bridge that are directly on its route. They are overgrown with vegetation and becoming dangerous, but not damaged beyond repair. The three linked lime kilns were built in the 19th century to convert limestone (calcium carbonate) to ‘quicklime’ or ‘lime’ (calcium oxide). North Somerset Council’s archaeologist Vince Russett said: “Quicklime had many uses from the production of mortar and wash for buildings to use in agriculture as a soil improver. The manufacture of quicklime was a time consuming, dangerous and labour intensive process - enough limestone and fuel would have to be collected and transported, loaded into the kiln and set alight. The limestone was then heated in the kiln at temperatures of up to 1000 degrees C for around 3 to 4 days. “The kilns were built into the sloping hillside, which saved on construction costs and made it easier to load from the top and unload from the bottom. This conjoined, triple kiln arrangement enabled an almost continuous process to take place, with one kiln in use and the other two being unloaded or charged at any one time. "In many ways triple kilns were ‘old technology’ at the time of their construction and for these kilns at Winford Bridge to remain in operation well into the 20th century is all the more remarkable. Only a small number survive across the country.” The route of the South Bristol Link passes directly through the site and the new roundabout there will have the lime kilns as the centrepiece.
Creating habitats for wildlifeWhenever there is construction, there is the chance that wildlife may lose habitats. The South Bristol Link is doing what it can to make sure that alternatives are available. Thirty bird boxes will be put up for birds to nest in. There are four different types of bird box to suit different species. Vegetation clearance happens outside the bird nesting season, although some species have been recorded nesting during other months so we will always take care. Any nest found will be left undisturbed until all chicks have fledged. We will put up 10 bat boxes on suitable trees along the route to encourage roosting. There will be no street lighting for the majority of the rural section of the route. A programme of moving reptiles on may be needed in some areas and a hand-search by an ecologist will take place. Any reptiles found will be removed to a safe site. Piles of rubbish and rubble will be carefully dismantled to avoid injury to the reptiles. Reptile and amphibian friendly curbs, which allow animals to bypass gully gratings, will be installed next to areas of water. Ten places for reptiles to find refuge will be constructed, probably in mounds from branches, soil and rubble. These need to be placed on dry south-facing slopes.
6 new ponds encouraging wildlifeTo make sure that there is sustainable drainage along the South Bristol Link, we need to consider flood management, pollution control, biodiversity and the local community. The creation of basins, ponds and wetlands mean that storm water can be controlled more easily and surface water from the road surface can be collected. Six new ponds will be created along the Link's MetroBus route for practical purposes as well as being beneficial to wildlife. The ponds will have shallow edges so wildlife can use it easily as well as shallow margins allowing the natural growth of vegetation. The ponds will be planted with native marginal acquatic plants and should become further colonised by a range of plants, invertebrates, amphibians and reptiles.
Protecting BatsWe carried out a detailed bat survey of the numbers and types of bats living around,and using the areas near, the South Bristol Link. Colliter's Brook, Hanging Hill Wood, and the railway corridor are important foraging sites and commuting routes for lesser horseshoe bats from Barrow Hospital and Clarkencombe Lodge. We are providing bat underpasses at the Colliter's Brook, and Longmoor Brook crossings so bats can continue to use their existing routes. We have planned the road bridges to allow bats to pass underneath along existing bat flightlines. Our landscape planting in these areas has been designed to funnel bats commuting along the watercourses through the underpass. Bats have been shown to readily use underpasses where conditions are suitable. We will monitor the level of bat use of these structures for three years after construction and we will share the findings with the local authority and Natural England to make sure bats are protected. We are:
- Planting 2.9 acres of new, native, broadleaved woodland
- Planting 4.9 acres of native tree and shrub belt
- Planting about 3 km of hedgerow for new habitats. This is a net gain of about 2.1 km. Hedgerows will be planted with native wood species such as hawthorn, blackthorn and hazel
- Creating more than 12 acres of species-rich grassland on highway verges and surrounding areas
- Ensuring no street lighting for the majority of the rural section of the scheme
- Installing 10 bat boxes
- Creating 6 new ponds, required for drainage, but benefiting wildlife