Jam busting – let’s have safer junctions and better flows of traffic

ROAD ISSUES FOR WOKINGHAM BOROUGH

EAST/WEST ROUTES

The main traffic flows in our area are east/west. There are three main routes, the A329M/A3290, A329, and the national M4 . The A327 in conjunction with the B3349 also provides a Wokingham to Reading east/west link around Arborfield/Shinfield. To the north of my constituency lies the A4 and to the south the A 30 and the M3. The A4 has reduced capacity following de trunking and the imposition of traffic calming measures. Both the A 30 and the A 4 have short sections of dual capacity with pinch points elsewhere. There is insufficient capacity on all these roads individually and in combination.

The government has announced plans to increase capacity on the M4 by one third, but local roads also need extra capacity.

The A327 will benefit from the Shinfield and Arborfield by passes. It also needs flood prevention measures to the east of Shinfield, and resolution of the delays caused by aggressive traffic lights on the south Reading section.

The A 329 blocks regularly thanks to light controlled junctions in Wokingham and Winnersh. A Winnersh by pass might tackle the Winnersh issue but we need to see whether there is a sensible route. Shorter term and cheaper options are a roundabout at the Broad Street junction in Wokingham and remodelling of the Winnersh junction with changes to phasings of lights with traffic sensors. The double light sets for the foodstore and the junction create considerable difficulties and delays.

The A329M will need more capacity in each direction and better access from the Winnersh Triangle entry in due course. Immediately the traffic lights should be withdrawn from the two approach roundabouts to the motorway at the Winnersh exit and from the Winnersh Triangle approach roundabout or the lights made peak time only.

NORTH/SOUTH ROUTES

North South traffic is lighter than East/west, but road capacity is far too small for current volumes. The main obstacles are the river and two East/west railway lines with inadequate bridges. There are two principal routes, the A 321 from the M3 in the south to Henley via Wokingham, and the A 327 from Eversley to Reading via Shinfield. The B3030 route from Arborfield to Hurst where it links with the A 321 is also an important north/south corridor.

The river crossing at Sonning has just a one way at a time bridge with one mile queues as a regular peak feature.There is little that can be done about this given the nature of the bridge and setting. The back bridges and approach road from the north could be improved further by Oxfordshire which would help.

The two way bridge at Henley is backed by a light controlled junction, which creates two mile tail backs during the long rowing/festival periods, and one mile tail backs at normal peaks. The route of the minor road intercepting the A 321 by the riverside in Henley and the traffic lights are a bigger cause of the jams than the bridge itself. Wokingham has long supported a 3rd crossing but neighbouring Councils remain opposed.

People wishing to go north on the national highway network from the Wokingham constituency are more likely to use national roads, by heading east on the M4 to use the bridges on the A 404(M) over the river and railway, or heading west to the A 34 trunk which also has good bridges over river and railway. Both these routes can entail substantial detours and place additional strain on the east/west national highway for what are south/north journeys.

The railway crossing at the Finchampstead Road does not permit two way traffic flows with large vehicles and is now scheduled for improvement. One rail bridge crossing in Wokingham is insufficient and an additional one is scheduled. The rail crossing in Winnersh does flow. The three sets of barrier controlled level crossings in the Wokingham area are major impediments to traffic flow and are potentially dangerous, so additional bridge routes that take most of the flow are necessary.

Twyford is a major north/south bottleneck on the A321, including parking on the main highway to pick and put down passengers for the station. This is outside my constituency.

Cycle lanes and routes should be segregated from these main roads. London has experienced an alarming increase in cycling deaths with cycle lanes and more cycle use of main roads without physical separation from traffic. The Council should identify footpaths and pavements that could be converted, and verges and alternative routes that could provide safer segregated capacity for bikes.

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8 Comments

  1. Tony Houghton
    Posted July 12, 2015 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    John

    The major problem for traffic in Wokingham is the routes through Wokingham itself and the need for a ring road. WBC seem to be content with the developers of Montague Park, to the south of London Road, to pay for a road through the estate to the railway line and then a link to the Tesco round about. This will not solve the problem and lead to the heavy traffic delivering to industrial estates either side of Molly Millar Road going through the Montague Estate. Not a clever solution!

    We need better joined up thinking from WBC and the Government.

    • alan jutson
      Posted July 13, 2015 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      Tony

      Agree absolutely

      A Southern relief road through a new housing estate which exits between two low and narrow bridges onto an existing roundabout next to a large supermarket which already has heavy traffic flow, is not a solution at all.

      A Northern relief road which does not provide direct access to the A329M to traffic from the North, North West, and North East of Wokingham is a major failure.

      There was enough room to provide a junction with the A329M at Warren Bridge overpass before they started to build more houses next to it, so now that choice is restricted, through a complete lack of vision by the planners.

      Yes the new Station road system is better, as is the Shute end junction (amazed but pleased no traffic lights) but why no right turn into Station approach from Station road, it would not conflict with any other traffic, as lights control this junction.
      Why also so few waiting places for cars collecting and dropping off passengers.
      But:
      Two years to construct 500 metres of new road (causing huge congestion at the time) was shamefully slow.

      Improvement in infrastructure should come first, not last, when any major development takes place.

      The Council holds lots of so called consultation meetings, but in reality nothing much seems to change from the original plans, no matter how good an argument is put up by residents.

      So power to your elbow JR in trying to make a difference locally, it is appreciated.

      Reply I agree roads before houses is best, and better parking/pull off/set down points where needed. I am in conversation with the senior people at the Council trying to persuade them to do more.

  2. Dennis
    Posted July 12, 2015 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Again the big hole in the bottom of the bath is ignored/not seen so bring on more water pipes to keep the bath filled.

    • Brian O'Callaghan
      Posted July 18, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      I agree, we need to address the real problem. Will we ever get away from the idea that increasing capacity will solve the problem? More capacity simply leads to more traffic. More traffic makes the environment less attractive to live in (nobody wants a dual carriage way outside their house), and we simply end up moving more traffic to the next ‘bottleneck’. What is the point of sending more traffic towards Reading whether by A4, A329, or a new Thames Crossing, when all of it simply arrives at Cemetery Junction? We need ways of reducing traffic, not ways of encouraging it.

      Reply I agree technology will help us – more people will buy on line, but that still needs a pick up journey or delivery vehicle. More may go by bus, but buses need roads. More may use the internet for social contacts and business meetings, but people will still want to meet in person. So we do need more capacity as well. People don’t tell me to stop providing more school places or surgery appointments to try to limit the growth in demand!

  3. John
    Posted July 18, 2015 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    How will all the more mature amongst cross at Broad Street if you remove the lights and put in a roundabout.

    Many cars in Wokingham are unable to use their indicators, creating inefficiencies at roundabouts.

    The indicators have also shrunk at brake lights have grown making them harder to see in certain lighting conditions, causing uncertainty and incidents at roundabouts.

  4. John
    Posted July 18, 2015 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Or just ban pedestrians and ensure all children are driven to school. This would remove the need for virtually all traffic control and would allow the conversion of pavements into an extra lane or two.

    This might sound crazy but I’ve yet to see an MP walk into Wokingham Town centre without their car.

    Reply I am a regular walker in and around Wokingham centre

  5. Simon
    Posted July 18, 2015 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    Use of bicycles should be encouraged by providing protected space for cyclists which affords a safe, convenient and direct route. The answer to traffic congestion is to prioritise people who walk or use a bicycle so that they feel safe to stop using cars unnecessarily. To do this effectively space will have to be taken away from motorists and provided for cyclists where appropriate.

    • alan jutson
      Posted July 19, 2015 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

      Simon

      All well and good promoting the use of a bicycle, but for so many people this is simply not an option that is viable for a whole host of reasons.

      The cost of separating Cyclists from other road users is simply prohibitive.

      The newly constructed 2.5 metre wide fenced 1 – 2 mile cycle track along Lower Earley way cost about £2,000,000 million to construct, it narrowed the existing road, but some cyclists for some reason still prefer to use the road (now more dangerous for them) from my experience.

      Would cyclists be prepared to pay for dedicated space ?

      How about pedestrians being protected from cyclists who cycle on the path at speed and pass them from behind without warning.

      The best solution is for all to think of other road users, and obey the highway code.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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