Work set to start on third bypass ‘hamburger’ junction

Oxford Mail: Work set to start on third bypass ‘hamburger’ junction Work set to start on third bypass ‘hamburger’ junction

WORK on a £3.5m project to help traffic flow on the Oxford bypass and the A34 will begin this month.

Thames Water will divert a water main underneath the Kennington roundabout to allow Oxfordshire County Council to turn it into a “hamburger roundabout”, so called because it has a road running through the centre of it. County council workmen will then be on site for six months from May when the construction work gets under way.

Hamburger conversions at the Heyford Hill and Green Road roundabouts have already made a big difference to traffic flows.

County council spokesman Martin Crabtree said: “The effect of this kind of scheme can be seen in places such as the Heyford Hill where a similar scheme has alleviated traffic congestion significantly and made the junction easier to negotiate.”

More lanes will be created for westbound traffic approaching the Kennington roundabout, separating traffic heading into the city along Abingdon Road and vehicles heading towards the A34.

There will also be a new westbound lane from the Kennington roundabout towards the southbound A34.

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6:27am Wed 8 Jan 14

Dilligaf2010 says...

Those planning journeys into, or out of, Oxford, between May 2014 and February 2015, please allow 12 months for your journey.........
Those planning journeys into, or out of, Oxford, between May 2014 and February 2015, please allow 12 months for your journey......... Dilligaf2010

7:22am Wed 8 Jan 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

To improve traffic flow on this stretch of the bypass, it would be better to close the Rose Hill/Littlemore roundabout and route all "domestic" traffic via the underpass instead. Retain acceleration and deceleration lanes on either side.
To improve traffic flow on this stretch of the bypass, it would be better to close the Rose Hill/Littlemore roundabout and route all "domestic" traffic via the underpass instead. Retain acceleration and deceleration lanes on either side. Andrew:Oxford

12:10pm Wed 8 Jan 14

disco80 says...

AT PEAK TIMES THESE MASSIVE JUNCTIONS!!! NOT ROUNDABOUTS DO VERY LITTLE TO HELP TRAFFIC FLOW. THIS COUNTRY IS OVERPOPULATED AND TOO MANY CARS ON THE ROAD. SIMPLE AND THE GEOGRAPHY OF OXFORD IS VERY HARD TO OVERCOME , WE NEED MORE ROADS OUT OF THE CITY BUT THE RIVERS AND FLOODPLAINS DICTATE THAT WE CAN WITHOUT SPENDING STUPID MONEY WHICH THE COUNTRY HASNT GOT
AT PEAK TIMES THESE MASSIVE JUNCTIONS!!! NOT ROUNDABOUTS DO VERY LITTLE TO HELP TRAFFIC FLOW. THIS COUNTRY IS OVERPOPULATED AND TOO MANY CARS ON THE ROAD. SIMPLE AND THE GEOGRAPHY OF OXFORD IS VERY HARD TO OVERCOME , WE NEED MORE ROADS OUT OF THE CITY BUT THE RIVERS AND FLOODPLAINS DICTATE THAT WE CAN WITHOUT SPENDING STUPID MONEY WHICH THE COUNTRY HASNT GOT disco80

11:32pm Wed 8 Jan 14

Dilligaf2010 says...

If anybody has driven up the A419 from the M4 towards Swindon, you will see how they solved the traffic problems at a major roundabout, they built a flyover, problem went away overnight, unfortunately Oxfordshire County Council don't have forward thinking individuals, that can envisage anything other than roundabout and traffic lights.
If anybody has driven up the A419 from the M4 towards Swindon, you will see how they solved the traffic problems at a major roundabout, they built a flyover, problem went away overnight, unfortunately Oxfordshire County Council don't have forward thinking individuals, that can envisage anything other than roundabout and traffic lights. Dilligaf2010

8:49am Thu 9 Jan 14

King Joke says...

When they built the flyover at the Garsington Rd junction in 1994-ish, it cost £20m. I shudder to thing what one would cost now. I'd sooner see multiple tens of millions put into more deserving transport schemes rather than temporary relief for just one junction. How about starting work on the light rail line to Witney, or a proper bus station for Oxford?

Andrew's suggestion for the Rose Hill roundabout is sound; close the roundabout, straighten the Ring Road and leave left-turn only slip roads like at Sandy Lane West. The underpass by the chip shop should be able to handle the small flows from Cowley to Sandford.
When they built the flyover at the Garsington Rd junction in 1994-ish, it cost £20m. I shudder to thing what one would cost now. I'd sooner see multiple tens of millions put into more deserving transport schemes rather than temporary relief for just one junction. How about starting work on the light rail line to Witney, or a proper bus station for Oxford? Andrew's suggestion for the Rose Hill roundabout is sound; close the roundabout, straighten the Ring Road and leave left-turn only slip roads like at Sandy Lane West. The underpass by the chip shop should be able to handle the small flows from Cowley to Sandford. King Joke

10:43am Thu 9 Jan 14

MoominDave says...

I can't agree with Andrew's Rose Hill/Littlemore roundabout suggestion. The underpass off Newman Road - a residential area with pre-existing traffic calming by the shops there - struggles with current traffic volumes. As does the section of Oxford Road between the Ring Road and the mini-roundabout in the middle of Littlemore, which is also traffic-calmed, and often a nightmare to negotiate even at non-busy times. Imagine if the large volume of traffic at rush hour that wants to turn right from the end of the Iffley Road was forced to make a choice between using the Garsington Road roundabout to U-turn or using the underpass and Oxford Road as a rat-run... So this suggestion would create a regular and ongoing traffic nightmare for those who live in Littlemore and those who commute from South of the city along the Iffley Road.

And would it improve flow on the Ring Road? I don't see it - it would displace half of the problem of integrating traffic into that flow from Iffley Road to the already overloaded Garsington Road junction (creating a new Northbound traffic problem), while the other half, via residential Littlemore streets, would still be joining from the left at the same place. At rush hour, even with the Heyford Hill hamburger junction improvements in place, SW-bound traffic queues all the way back to the Littlemore roundabout. Andrew's suggestion would only allow traffic to reach the Heyford Hill queue with fewer flow interruptions. This is no gain at all, paid for by vastly reducing the functionality of the junction, heaping greater load on the next junction along, and turning Littlemore into a traffic disaster zone.

I completely agree that the Littlemore roundabout is not fit for purpose - it's too cramped, badly laid out, and dangerous - but this would make things worse. An overpass here and an overpass at Kennington would solve the problem nicely. I would also suggest looking at turning off the traffic lights on the A34 junction roundabout at peak times.
I can't agree with Andrew's Rose Hill/Littlemore roundabout suggestion. The underpass off Newman Road - a residential area with pre-existing traffic calming by the shops there - struggles with current traffic volumes. As does the section of Oxford Road between the Ring Road and the mini-roundabout in the middle of Littlemore, which is also traffic-calmed, and often a nightmare to negotiate even at non-busy times. Imagine if the large volume of traffic at rush hour that wants to turn right from the end of the Iffley Road [/Henley Avenue/Rose Hill/Oxford Road] was forced to make a choice between using the Garsington Road roundabout to U-turn or using the underpass and Oxford Road as a rat-run... So this suggestion would create a regular and ongoing traffic nightmare for those who live in Littlemore and those who commute from South of the city along the Iffley Road. And would it improve flow on the Ring Road? I don't see it - it would displace half of the problem of integrating traffic into that flow from Iffley Road to the already overloaded Garsington Road junction (creating a new Northbound traffic problem), while the other half, via residential Littlemore streets, would still be joining from the left at the same place. At rush hour, even with the Heyford Hill hamburger junction improvements in place, SW-bound traffic queues all the way back to the Littlemore roundabout. Andrew's suggestion would only allow traffic to reach the Heyford Hill queue [which is in fact often the back end of the Kennington roundabout queue] with fewer flow interruptions. This is no gain at all, paid for by vastly reducing the functionality of the junction, heaping greater load on the next junction along, and turning Littlemore into a traffic disaster zone. I completely agree that the Littlemore roundabout is not fit for purpose - it's too cramped, badly laid out, and dangerous - but this would make things worse. An overpass here and an overpass at Kennington would solve the problem nicely. I would also suggest looking at turning off the traffic lights on the A34 junction roundabout at peak times. MoominDave

10:51am Thu 9 Jan 14

King Joke says...

Overpasses would only provide temporary relief as every experience from the past fifty years has shown they only encourage more traffic. I'm not sure you'd get much change out of £100m for them, for a few years' benefit, for which money you could get a tram line. I know what will bring more lasting benefit.
Overpasses would only provide temporary relief as every experience from the past fifty years has shown they only encourage more traffic. I'm not sure you'd get much change out of £100m for them, for a few years' benefit, for which money you could get a tram line. I know what will bring more lasting benefit. King Joke

2:50pm Thu 9 Jan 14

MoominDave says...

Traffic volumes have steadily increased in the past, and an overpass is an obviously efficient solution to this kind of traffic flow problem. Traffic naturally travels on routes that flow best - which will be those that have had their problems reduced. It isn't really fair to blame the overpass for the high volume of traffic over it - that traffic would only be elsewhere, on a less efficient road. Incidentally, a quick Google suggests that your cost estimate for building an overpass is a long way over, by at least a factor of 2.

But the main point is that the Oxford Ring Road is already the roadway of choice for those on it. There aren't more efficient roads serving the same purpose that improvements to the Ring Road would drag traffic away from. The sole purpose of the road is to bear the brunt of the local traffic load. Improving its flow can't attract more traffic, as it already does attract all the traffic heading into and out of Oxford, as it is intended to.

As you suggest, reducing the total amount of traffic flowing in and out of the city is also a valid strategy. But it's a long term, expensive one, and not very clear cut - your suggestion of a light rail line to Witney would also cost a fortune to construct (online figures are pretty vague, but something in the region of £100M seems a reasonable order of magnitude to start with), and even when complete it would still only deliver people to the railway station (not much use if you work in Summertown, say). Trams you also suggest. Not sure why these would make sense. They are very expensive, not publicly favoured (just look at the increasingly cynical and negative reception the system they are building in Edinburgh is getting, due to the cost of the scheme, which is much reduced from its original scope - the final estimated cost on the single line that is actually being built is £1Bn!), require space on the road which would be difficult to find on Oxford's arterial roads, and are constrained to run where their lines are constructed. Buses are much more flexible and are instantly available - for the tens of millions of pounds on the table in this discussion, one could have city-sponsored buses criss-crossing the city in great depth at very short intervals.
Traffic volumes have steadily increased in the past, and an overpass is an obviously efficient solution to this kind of traffic flow problem. Traffic naturally travels on routes that flow best - which will be those that have had their problems reduced. It isn't really fair to blame the overpass for the high volume of traffic over it - that traffic would only be elsewhere, on a less efficient road. Incidentally, a quick Google suggests that your cost estimate for building an overpass is a long way over, by at least a factor of 2. But the main point is that the Oxford Ring Road is already the roadway of choice for those on it. There aren't more efficient roads serving the same purpose that improvements to the Ring Road would drag traffic away from. The sole purpose of the road is to bear the brunt of the local traffic load. Improving its flow can't attract more traffic, as it already does attract all the traffic heading into and out of Oxford, as it is intended to. As you suggest, reducing the total amount of traffic flowing in and out of the city is also a valid strategy. But it's a long term, expensive one, and not very clear cut - your suggestion of a light rail line to Witney would also cost a fortune to construct (online figures are pretty vague, but something in the region of £100M seems a reasonable order of magnitude to start with), and even when complete it would still only deliver people to the railway station (not much use if you work in Summertown, say). Trams you also suggest. Not sure why these would make sense. They are very expensive, not publicly favoured (just look at the increasingly cynical and negative reception the system they are building in Edinburgh is getting, due to the cost of the scheme, which is much reduced from its original scope - the final estimated cost on the single line that is actually being built is £1Bn!), require space on the road which would be difficult to find on Oxford's arterial roads, and are constrained to run where their lines are constructed. Buses are much more flexible and are instantly available - for the tens of millions of pounds on the table in this discussion, one could have city-sponsored buses criss-crossing the city in great depth at very short intervals. MoominDave

3:13pm Thu 9 Jan 14

King Joke says...

I agree light rail isn't the only solution; you'd need to spend to beef up buses in those areas not directly benefiting from any light rail line which was built. We already have buses running at very short intervals, but they don't connect properly in the city centre to provide a proper network. Infrastructure to allow them to connect properly, and make cross-city journeys with no time penalty, is one of the things you could spend the money on, as would universal real-time information, audible and visible stop announcements, and flexible Oyster-style ticketing on cards and mobile phones.

All your other statements about having to predict traffic growth and provide for it are utter tosh, and have been trotted out by road planners since the 1960s and before. THey manifestly failed to address traffic growth and I'm glad we live in more enlightened times.
I agree light rail isn't the only solution; you'd need to spend to beef up buses in those areas not directly benefiting from any light rail line which was built. We already have buses running at very short intervals, but they don't connect properly in the city centre to provide a proper network. Infrastructure to allow them to connect properly, and make cross-city journeys with no time penalty, is one of the things you could spend the money on, as would universal real-time information, audible and visible stop announcements, and flexible Oyster-style ticketing on cards and mobile phones. All your other statements about having to predict traffic growth and provide for it are utter tosh, and have been trotted out by road planners since the 1960s and before. THey manifestly failed to address traffic growth and I'm glad we live in more enlightened times. King Joke

3:52pm Thu 9 Jan 14

MoominDave says...

Hmm. Buses don't currently run at very short intervals in Oxford. Really they don't. If you are lucky enough to live within reach of the Cowley Road they do. Other arterial routes, the intervals are workable, but often not short. Elsewhere, not so much.

But that's a minor nitpick, and neither here nor there really. My major nitpick is for your second paragraph. Why the sudden rude and condescending tone? You then attempt to demolish a position I didn't take, and moreover do it so unclearly that I cannot discern what you are trying to say. You evidently have an entrenched position on the subject which you would like me to give you an opportunity to air. Please, do air your general position - it probably makes decent sense when given space to breathe, rather than crammed into an argument that it doesn't fit.
Hmm. Buses don't currently run at very short intervals in Oxford. Really they don't. If you are lucky enough to live within reach of the Cowley Road they do. Other arterial routes, the intervals are workable, but often not short. Elsewhere, not so much. But that's a minor nitpick, and neither here nor there really. My major nitpick is for your second paragraph. Why the sudden rude and condescending tone? You then attempt to demolish a position I didn't take, and moreover do it so unclearly that I cannot discern what you are trying to say. You evidently have an entrenched position on the subject which you would like me to give you an opportunity to air. Please, do air your general position - it probably makes decent sense when given space to breathe, rather than crammed into an argument that it doesn't fit. MoominDave

12:14pm Fri 10 Jan 14

King Joke says...

To take points in turn:

Service intervals, or headways in the trade, are by any standards very short on all our main city radials. Headways on these are 4-8 minutes, and unlike many other provincial cities are acceptable on evenings and Sundays, and into the early hours especially at weekends. Secondary city routes like the Marston Road operate at ten-minute headways, and the significant orbital route from the JR to North Oxford operates at fifteen-minute headways. Further out, links to county towns are excellent by shire county standards, with Abingdon , Witney , Bicester , THame well served. There’s always room for improvement but I’d suggest the focus for investment should be on improving connectivity and bringing ticketing into line with world-class systems. Improving the headway on the Iffley Rd from eight minutes to six will not help someone who has a walk of several hundred metres to connect with a Banbury Rd service, as much as giving a proper interchange. A never-ending auto-top-up smart card or phone app would be nice too.

On bypass improvements, the position you took was that traffic flows would be improved by providing over-passes where there are currently flat junctions. This assumption that providing additional capacity will solve congestion, and will not generate extra traffic, has long been discredited. The M1 was supposed to accommodate all flows from London to the Midlands, but had to be paralleled by the M40 and is now being widened. Likewise the Brentford flyover was doubtless seen as a silver bullet when conceived, but has done little to reduce traffic on the M4 or in surrounding West London, far from it. Likewise, over-passes at Kennington and Rose Hill would just put more pressure on the Hinksey Hill and Green road junctions. As Hinksey Hill is already a split-level roundabout, what here? A cloverleaf? There is no end to the schemes you can proposed but they are ultimately futile and there needs to be a drains-up rethink of how local journeys are made, and where we build stuff that generates local journeys, with a presumption against generating large numbers of car trips.
To take points in turn: Service intervals, or headways in the trade, are by any standards very short on all our main city radials. Headways on these are 4-8 minutes, and unlike many other provincial cities are acceptable on evenings and Sundays, and into the early hours especially at weekends. Secondary city routes like the Marston Road operate at ten-minute headways, and the significant orbital route from the JR to North Oxford operates at fifteen-minute headways. Further out, links to county towns are excellent by shire county standards, with Abingdon [ten minutes], Witney [fifteen minutes], Bicester [fifteen minutes], THame [twenty minutes] well served. There’s always room for improvement but I’d suggest the focus for investment should be on improving connectivity and bringing ticketing into line with world-class systems. Improving the headway on the Iffley Rd from eight minutes to six will not help someone who has a walk of several hundred metres to connect with a Banbury Rd service, as much as giving a proper interchange. A never-ending auto-top-up smart card or phone app would be nice too. On bypass improvements, the position you took was that traffic flows would be improved by providing over-passes where there are currently flat junctions. This assumption that providing additional capacity will solve congestion, and will not generate extra traffic, has long been discredited. The M1 was supposed to accommodate all flows from London to the Midlands, but had to be paralleled by the M40 and is now being widened. Likewise the Brentford flyover was doubtless seen as a silver bullet when conceived, but has done little to reduce traffic on the M4 or in surrounding West London, far from it. Likewise, over-passes at Kennington and Rose Hill would just put more pressure on the Hinksey Hill and Green road junctions. As Hinksey Hill is already a split-level roundabout, what here? A cloverleaf? There is no end to the schemes you can proposed but they are ultimately futile and there needs to be a drains-up rethink of how local journeys are made, and where we build stuff that generates local journeys, with a presumption against generating large numbers of car trips. King Joke

1:42pm Fri 10 Jan 14

MoominDave says...

Thanks, that's much more constructive. I'm sorry if my last post was a little argumentative in nature - I was irked by your previously dismissive tone.

I thoroughly agree on your bus points. All I was saying originally was that the huge sums of money we were bandying about regarding road improvements and from-scratch public transport schemes would, if solely deployed on buses, result in a service that would be second to none anywhere.

You imply experience in the field of road design, so I am somewhat loath to take issue with your main points. But the point about increased capacity bringing on significantly increased usage is not intuitive to me at all under current cultural conditions; when the M1 was built, many fewer people owned cars, and many fewer couples required a car each in order for both to work. Today, both of those situations are commonplace. In other words, the demand for roadspace has increased vastly since then, for reasons which are independent of road capacity, and which cannot be repeated. There has also been a population growth effect that we will see repeated in the future, but in the absence of those two big effects, surely we cannot proceed to the simple conclusion 'providing more roadspace means causing traffic flows up to the new capacity'? There has to be a cultural saturation point, and so far as I can see, we cannot be a large distance away from it.

Regarding placing extra pressure on Hinksey Hill and Green Road - yes, good point. My earlier suggestion of disabling the lights at Hinksey Hill at peak time was aimed at this - I believe this idea has proven useful for maintaining traffic flow in busy conditions elsewhere? One couldn't really do the same at Green Road, as the hamburgerness of it wouldn't work without lights. The basic problem at Hinksey Hill, it seems to me, is that Southbound traffic coming from Oxford during rush hour is squeezed into one lane. Assuming the overpasses I proposed, a two-lane cut across the corner from near the Kennington turn down onto the slip road would I think alleviate things significantly here; a full cloverleaf layout, as you imply, would be way over the top. Then the next problem is integrating the flow to the busy Southbound A34 - but that's a different problem.
Thanks, that's much more constructive. I'm sorry if my last post was a little argumentative in nature - I was irked by your previously dismissive tone. I thoroughly agree on your bus points. All I was saying originally was that the huge sums of money we were bandying about regarding road improvements and from-scratch public transport schemes would, if solely deployed on buses, result in a service that would be second to none anywhere. You imply experience in the field of road design, so I am somewhat loath to take issue with your main points. But the point about increased capacity bringing on significantly increased usage is not intuitive to me at all under current cultural conditions; when the M1 was built, many fewer people owned cars, and many fewer couples required a car each in order for both to work. Today, both of those situations are commonplace. In other words, the demand for roadspace has increased vastly since then, for reasons which are independent of road capacity, and which cannot be repeated. There has also been a population growth effect that we will see repeated in the future, but in the absence of those two big effects, surely we cannot proceed to the simple conclusion 'providing more roadspace means causing traffic flows up to the new capacity'? There has to be a cultural saturation point, and so far as I can see, we cannot be a large distance away from it. Regarding placing extra pressure on Hinksey Hill and Green Road - yes, good point. My earlier suggestion of disabling the lights at Hinksey Hill at peak time was aimed at this - I believe this idea has proven useful for maintaining traffic flow in busy conditions elsewhere? One couldn't really do the same at Green Road, as the hamburgerness of it wouldn't work without lights. The basic problem at Hinksey Hill, it seems to me, is that Southbound traffic coming from Oxford during rush hour is squeezed into one lane. Assuming the overpasses I proposed, a two-lane cut across the corner from near the Kennington turn down onto the slip road would I think alleviate things significantly here; a full cloverleaf layout, as you imply, would be way over the top. Then the next problem is integrating the flow to the busy Southbound A34 - but that's a different problem. MoominDave

3:01pm Mon 13 Jan 14

King Joke says...

No worries about being argumentative, I sometimes up the ante a little to set the cat among the pigeons... one of the advantages of an anonymous forum!

It’s a dangerous assumption to suppose that the high traffic growth we saw in past decades won’t be repeated if we pour money into road capacity. We have lower vehicle ownership in Oxford than the rest of the UK and lower in the UK than other developed economies like Australia and of course the US, where virtually every adult has a vehicle. Furthermore here are some drastic projections of population growth, with outside estimates at 70m nationally within a generation. In a ‘do nothing’ scenario it’s easy to see traffic growing again, especially in areas with strong economies like Oxfordshire.

The idea that ‘just one last push’ on capacity, an overpass here and there, will ease congestion once and for all is a beguiling one but it’s been shown to fail time and again.

This is why it’s important to invest in alternatives now, while people are arriving. Buses have the advantage, in this area, of mainly good private operators working with a local authority which ‘gets’ public transport. A point I haven’t made yet is that much of the improvement we’ve seen in the last twenty years in service provision has come about through private investment; given the right conditions buses don’t need high levels of subsidy, so any public investment should be directed to infrastructure, to increase connectivity and useability (information, ticketing).

Things which do still require significant public investment, because the benefits are too externalised for private sector investment, but which have been demonstrated to drive heavy modal shift, are things like new light rail and improvements to existing heavy rail.

I’m not a professional in any of the above fields but do take a keen interest.
No worries about being argumentative, I sometimes up the ante a little to set the cat among the pigeons... one of the advantages of an anonymous forum! It’s a dangerous assumption to suppose that the high traffic growth we saw in past decades won’t be repeated if we pour money into road capacity. We have lower vehicle ownership in Oxford than the rest of the UK and lower in the UK than other developed economies like Australia and of course the US, where virtually every adult has a vehicle. Furthermore here are some drastic projections of population growth, with outside estimates at 70m nationally within a generation. In a ‘do nothing’ scenario it’s easy to see traffic growing again, especially in areas with strong economies like Oxfordshire. The idea that ‘just one last push’ on capacity, an overpass here and there, will ease congestion once and for all is a beguiling one but it’s been shown to fail time and again. This is why it’s important to invest in alternatives now, while people are arriving. Buses have the advantage, in this area, of mainly good private operators working with a local authority which ‘gets’ public transport. A point I haven’t made yet is that much of the improvement we’ve seen in the last twenty years in service provision has come about through private investment; given the right conditions buses don’t need high levels of subsidy, so any public investment should be directed to infrastructure, to increase connectivity and useability (information, ticketing). Things which do still require significant public investment, because the benefits are too externalised for private sector investment, but which have been demonstrated to drive heavy modal shift, are things like new light rail and improvements to existing heavy rail. I’m not a professional in any of the above fields but do take a keen interest. King Joke

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