Problems on the A 329 M

Yesterday I held a meeting with the Roads Minister, Mr Andrew Jones, after the meeting about the M25, to discuss problems with the latest Highways England scheme for the M4/A329M junction.

I explained that the Highways England scheme has reduced queues to get off the M4 at the price of creating big jams on the A 329M at busy times, and causing crashes. The decision to remove one of the two lanes from use for through traffic has cut capacity too far on the A 329 M, as the flows on the motorway usually exceed the flow of traffic joining the motorway by a substantial margin.

I asked him to review with Highways England the dangers and congestion caused, and to come up with a safer solution which restores capacity on the A 329 M.

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15 Comments

  1. Chris
    Posted January 27, 2016 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Wholehearted thanks, Mr Redwood, for all your efforts. The completed road modification scheme seems a failure, and anyone with a basic quota of common sense could have foreseen the problems. It would seem that both the large amount of money paid to consultants for modelling road traffic problems/solutions and the actual calibre/”expertise” of those employed by the Council need to be rigorously scrutinised. What a waste of taxpayers’ money, and what inconvenience to road users and lost man hours caused to road users by the lengthy period of road modification.

  2. Reading-On-Thames
    Posted January 27, 2016 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Well done!! It’s a poorly thought through solution. Let’s hope a way forward can be found to benefit both local users and longer-distance M4 commuters.

  3. Noel Keane
    Posted January 27, 2016 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for reinforcing the widely held view that the current situation is unacceptable and worse represents a significant threat to life.
    Have you agreed a timescale for a response from highways England ?

    Thank you

  4. Bracknell Commuter
    Posted January 27, 2016 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    I disagree – although the junction layout does need looking at, the majority of the problems currently being experienced are down to driver behaviour ; it is the motorist that needs educating. As for being a failure, it has improved travelling times and queuing on the M4 which is what it was designed to do.

    If motorists used the correct lane at the correct time, kept the correct safety distance from the car in front, stopped taking photos from their drivers seat and concentrated on what they were doing then the traffic would flow a lot better

    • alan jutson
      Posted January 27, 2016 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      Bracknell Commuter

      So you think slow moving traffic Like Lorries, coaches, towing vehicles, motor caravans and the like, and people who simply do not want to drive in the overtaking lane, should be forced to do so when the speed limit for some of these vehicles is limited to 56mph by law.

      Perhaps you have been fortunate so far in not having an accident or a near miss as drivers attempt move across lanes but find they cannot do so because of the volume of traffic, then feel themselves forced to at the last minute, because they run out of road.

      I have seen far too many near misses on this stretch of road since the modifications.

      Just out of interest have never taken photographs whilst driving, neither would I guess do many drivers.
      I have driven all over the World in the past 50 years and this latest piece of nonsense introduced by our so called experts, is simply daft and dangerous.

      Just out of interest, were you one of the designers or constructors of this scheme ?

      • Bracknell Commuter
        Posted January 27, 2016 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

        There is nothing forcing the vehicles you describe from having to move into the outside lane until about 300 yards prior to the junction when the line markings change and the green cateyes appear.

        Where is the evidence that there haa been an increase in the number of collisions? It has always been a dodgy junction and most mornings it had the usual ‘travelling too close’ bumps.

        The near misses are caused by inattentive drivers and those that generally bully there way into gaps. Signage could be (and is being) improved but that are big red signs warning of a new road layout that drivers should see and consider .

        • alan jutson
          Posted January 29, 2016 at 8:05 am | Permalink

          Bracknell Commuter.

          It is not always easy to filter or change lanes when there is a heavy volume of traffic.

          Perhaps you only drive in the overtaking lane leading up to this stretch of road !
          Or perhaps you only drive on the inside lane and always turn off on to the M4. and do not pass the Junction to go straight on.

          I know of people who have been involved in accidents when people have hit them, when others have been changing lanes in at the last minute and in a panic.

          Local social media sites confirm a big increase in accidents and near misses in the last couple of months, since the modification came into effect.

          If there is no problem with this modified Junction why have 1218 people signed a Government petition in its first 4 days to try and get it modified.

          https:/petition.parliament.uk/petitions/119574

          The simple fact is, many people find this new layout is dangerous.

          • Bracknell Commuter
            Posted January 30, 2016 at 9:08 am | Permalink

            “I know of people who have been involved in accidents when people have hit them, when others have been changing lanes in at the last minute and in a panic”

            Now is that a true statement or something you have picked up from local media? One particular incident being featured in a local paper is the result of driver behaviour (travelling too close) but but heralded by one and all that it was caused by the new layout.

            So, how many people do YOU know personally that have been involved in collisions at this site?

            As for my travel habits, I use the appropriate lane for the appropriate time and conditions

            I have said that I think the layout needs to be reviewed, not necessarily changed, and I have signed the petition too

            Would be interested to know though where Mr Redwood got his information from to say that the new layout was causing crashes – what evidence is there? He also states “the flows on the motorway usually exceed the flow of traffic joining the motorway by a substantial margin” which contradicts some of the complaints made by motorists that the new scheme is causing problems because of the excess flow from the M4

          • alan jutson
            Posted January 31, 2016 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

            Bracknell Commuter

            I have personal knowledge of the people involved in one of the cars involved in one accident, that involved the other car being written off.

            I have actually seen two near misses myself, although not been involved, other than with some anticipated braking.

            All in the last 2 months.

            In the previous very many years pre modification, nothing much at all that is worthy to report.

  5. alan jutson
    Posted January 27, 2016 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for your efforts John, this nonsense of a solution needs a rethink.

    Certainly the new single lane arrangement on the A329M needs to be restored to the past two lanes.

  6. Pauline Jorgensen
    Posted January 27, 2016 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    Thank you John. This change has increased journey times significantly for people heading from Earley, Reading and Woodley to Wokingham and Bracknell. Residents have reported significantly increased journey times and frequent accidents. This needs to be fixed.

  7. Carl
    Posted January 27, 2016 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    I’m pleased Cllrs are taking this issue seriously. The knock on affect to local roads has also been underestimated by Highways England, all to solve a problem on the M4. I can no longer use the A329m in the mornings to get to work in London. I’m forced to go through the back roads to pick up the M3 at J4b, adding another 30mins onto my already lengthily journey due to M3 roadworks.

    Some of the responses I’ve seen from Highways England are unacceptable, in my view, and shows a lack of responsibility and acknowledgement that they have underestimated the volume of traffic that use the A329m and the knock on affect to surrounding roads.

  8. hefner
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    As Lifelogic could be saying, “any engineer with some knowledge in” fluid dynamics, would have told beforehand that reducing the traffic flow from two lanes to only one would be creating some bottlenecks.
    So what might have looked as a good idea when considered as averaged over the day simply is a huge pain at rush hours.

  9. Charles Bockett-Pugh
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for this, Mr Redwood. I have never known such a dangerous, badly signed and ill-thought out change to a road. It will be good to get this mess sorted before someone dies.

  10. Deborah Morton
    Posted February 4, 2016 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Since the changes to the lanes I am too scared to drive along the a329M in the dark. When moving over into the overtaking lane the cars are hurtling along at breakneck speed and trying to join them when I only wish to drive at 60mph is terrifying. I hope that common sense will prevail and that the petition will result in two lanes being restored to full use.

  • 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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