Fringe Box



Letter: My Suggestion For Reducing Guildford Traffic

Published on: 21 Nov, 2015
Updated on: 21 Nov, 2015

emails letterFrom Mike Pugh

Jim Collin’s letter A Proposal to Decrease Through Village Traffic suggesting additional links to/from the A3 north-east of Guildford, brought to mind a suggestion that I made to a Guildford Borough Council (GBC), transport officer in August of last year, which was aimed at reducing traffic having to pass through the town.

My proposal followed the consultation Guildford Town and Approaches Movement Study – Strategy Report, and is reproduced below (but without the annotated map attachment that illustrated my proposal).

I wrote: “….I note that Arup’s Guildford Town and Approaches Movement Study Strategy Report makes the following recommendation in respect of minimising the impact of through traffic on Guildford’s Local Road Network:

Guildford Borough Council should work with the Highways Agency to address challenges on the A3 trunk road and develop improvements that encourage traffic to use the A3 for through movements rather than travel through Guildford town centre.

I am therefore generally in favour of the early development of Gosden Hill Farm, as it provides an opportunity to provide access to the A3 southbound for residents in Burpham, Merrow, Boxgrove and Jacobs Well, which avoids the need to contribute to the morning traffic problems along Ladymead, Midleton Road and the on-slip road to the A3 southbound, on the west side of town. However, this only relieves traffic problems in the mornings: drivers on their return trips in the afternoon rush hours have no option but to battle their way through heavily trafficked roads within Guildford.

There is a missed opportunity, with the development of this site, to provide the much needed exit from the A3 northbound on the east side of Guildford. This would remove the need for drivers wishing to travel to Merrow, Boxgrove, Jacobs Well and Burpham (including the new development of Gosden Hill Farm) who are travelling on the A3 northbound or A31 having to struggle through congested roads within Guildford in peak periods.

There could be significant benefits to many parts of the traffic network within Guildford as a result, as should be demonstrated by modelling local road network traffic with and without such an off-slip on the A3 northbound.

…An off-slip road on the A3 northbound, terminating in the Gosden Hill farm development would need to cross both carriageways of the A3. This may be either via an over-bridge or in a cut-and-cover box section underpass.

An over-bridge would probably be a less expensive solution, with less disruption to A3 traffic, but may require limited land purchase adjacent to the north side of the A3 corridor to minimise the construction cost of the over-bridge section by reducing the span. The underpass solution would be more disruptive to A3 traffic but would be less visually intrusive, and may obviate the need for additional land purchase.

Surface water drainage/ flood prevention would be an additional consideration for an underpass solution. The over-bridge could be a (wide) single lane, but the underpass would probably need to be two-lane, for emergency access. For discussion purposes, the following comments relate to a possible over-bridge solution.

The existing on-slip road from Clay Lane may be too close to any crossing point to the Gosden Hill Farm site to locate the off-slip road to the east of it. It may therefore be necessary to extend the on-slip road to join the A3 after the off-slip road.

I understand that a roundabout is currently under consideration for linking the re-located A3 off-slip and new on-slip roads to the local road network. Depending on the location of this roundabout within the development, the up ramp to the over-bridge could start in the vicinity of the junction of the rear entrance to Sutton Place with the northbound carriageway of the A3.

This junction is approximately 700m beyond the point at which the on-slip road begins to join the A3. Given the land constraints it may be necessary to locate the up ramp within the inner lane of the A3, limiting the northbound carriageway to two lanes at this point.

The ramp would have a retaining wall on each side until it is economic to continue rising as a deck supported on beams and columns. On reaching highway bridge clearance height, it would ‘S’ curve northwards and southwards to reduce the span across the A3.

If necessary, the on-slip road would be extended eastwards, separated from the A3 by a barrier, up to the start of the off-slip ramp. It would pick up the connection with the Sutton Place rear access and run alongside the rising on-slip ramp, continuing under the first curve of the elevated on-slip road, before merging with the A3, where it would re-start the third lane of the carriageway.

The A3 crossing would require column support within the central reservation, but disruption to the A3 traffic could be reduced with night closures for the installation of main span beams.

The down ramp within the new development would terminate in the vicinity of the connecting roundabout. It could be aligned close to the innermost lane of the A3, with a tight bend at the foot of the ramp to join the roundabout. The ‘S’ curve at the southern end of the main bridge span would remain at highway bridge clearance height, with the new on-slip road passing beneath it.

[In my map (not shown)] the roundabout is shown to be midway along the frontage of Gosden Hill Farm with the A3. If it is located further south, then extension of the northbound on-slip would be obligatory. If located further north, extension of the northbound on-slip may not be necessary.

I would be most grateful if you would give this suggestion your serious consideration, and discuss the feasibility of such an enhancement to the highway network with your colleagues in County Highways.

Without this intervention I would venture to suggest that the impact of the development at Gosden Hill Farm on the local road network within the borough, particularly within the town centre and its fringes, would not be sufficiently mitigated.”

In his response, the Transport officer emailed: “Thank you for your email. I will share this with the representatives of the Highways Agency and Surrey County Council.”

I have heard nothing from anyone from GBC, Surrey County Council or the Highways Agency since.

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Responses to Letter: My Suggestion For Reducing Guildford Traffic

  1. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    November 21, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    Interesting suggestion from Mike Pugh. I have not yet seen any proposal for a junction for Gosden Hill Farm area, so I am not able to comment. However, the problems of northbound on-slip from Clay Lane merging with the A3 and a possible off-slip from the A3 to a new Gosden Hill junction starting at about the same location could be avoided if the off-slip is moved way back before Clay lane. It could occupy the current lay by and rise up to meet Clay Lane.

    I would draw attention to my suggestion for a direct access to Slyfield from the A3 as shown in the sketch:

    The suggestion here is to take the exit from proposed Slyfield junction to meet up with the off-slip to Clay Lane. The traffic lights on Clay Lane could be altered to allow the off-slip traffic to join Clay Lane. Alternatively a roundabout on Clay Lane west of the bridge over river Wey could be used to merge the traffic.

    To start with the on-slip from Clay lane could be used for a route to Gosden Hill that peels away to a raised ramp as suggested by Mr Pugh.

    The southbound off-slip for Gosden Hill junction could replace the current off-slip to Merrow if the route of the southbound on-slip from the roundabout Mr Pugh mentioned then splits and the left lane proceeds to join the current road Merrow and the right lane joins the A3.

    I have also suggested how the emergency access at Clay Lane could be converted to a southbound on-slip that does not immediately join the A3 but joins a new off-slip to Slyfield junction. The combined route then splits to go left to Slyfield overbridge and the right as the A3 southbound on-slip.

    The locations of the slip roads utilise the existing lay-bys on both sides of the A3. Obviously the lay-bys need to be relocated and I have indicated where these could go.

  2. Jim Allen Reply

    November 21, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    Interesting suggestion and matches that proposed in 1984.

    I would suggest for considerations the following minor additions: closing all existing slips roads in this section and extending the Send slip road south and the London slip road north to meet the four way with a link road to the A25 east, along side Copse Wood (also proposed in 1984). Slightly further north than suggested – this would as previously stated reduce traffic in all surrounding villages right up to Ripley.

    A Freedom of Information request has been made to release information relating to any plan for such a junction which has been stated to be in existence. Sadly, Guildford Borough Council, Surrey County Council and the Highways England have all refused to release the plan as they have also refused to disclose who did the survey work at Clay Lane. Effectively saying – we don’t want the public to know what we are planning. Their refusal to release is also contrary to the Localism Act 2012, in my view.

    • Terry Stevenson Reply

      November 22, 2015 at 9:29 pm

      If Jim Allen believes these organisations have acted inappropriately, he may wish to pursue the matter via the information commissioner’s office.

      I am sure it will be able to clarify whether Mr Allen’s interpretation of the relevant legislation is correct.

  3. Ben Paton Reply

    November 22, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    If an additional access point to the A3 on the East side of Guildford is needed and if you believe existing traffic flows justify it then why not just ask for it?

    Why should a new access be contingent on building a new suburb? Surely a new suburb would itself add to congestion on the A3 and negate the relief to congestion in central Guildford which a new access would allow?

    Is there some suggestion that the developers of Gosden Hill Farm would pay for the access point? Is that how public works should be funded?

    • Bibhas Neogi Reply

      November 24, 2015 at 7:57 am

      I believe an additional access to the A3 on the East side of Guildford for the existing traffic is needed and that is why I suggested converting the emergency access adjacent to Clay Lane Bridge to a southbound on-slip. In conjunction with a northbound off-slip to Clay Lane that I also suggested, traffic through Midleton Road, Ladymead and London Road would be reduced in both directions.

      A new suburb of the scale that might be built on Gosden Hill Farm would need access to the A3 so as not to add to the congestion in Merrow and Clay Lane and the rest of it if Clay Lane junction is not improved possibly in the manner as I’ve suggested.

  4. George Potter Reply

    November 23, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    It’s worth noting, for those who aren’t aware, that the A3 falls under the purview of the Department for Transport at Westminster.

    One of the biggest obstacles facing attempts to tackle traffic problems in Guildford is that any alterations to the A3 and A31 require the Department of Transport to initiate and approve them. Community groups, the borough council and the county council can make proposals until they’re blue in the face but if the DoT refuses to listen then there’s nothing they can do about it.

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