THE LATEST phase of an ongoing project to speed up journey times for all road users along the busy A33 in Reading begins today (Monday July 27th).
This is the fifth stage of the South Reading Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) scheme which aims to make bus travel an even more attractive option for people by accelerating journeys between the centre of Reading and residential and employment areas to the south of the borough.
Latest works begin today and will include:
- construction of a new southbound bus lane from the River Kennet bridge to Kennet Island
- a new northbound MRT stop at Island Road
- a new southbound MRT stop at Worton Grange
- changes to the MRT lane near Reading International Business Park to focus on getting fast park and ride buses from Mereoak to Reading as easily as possible.
As part of the works the gyratory at Bennet Road will also be re-signaled with an improved traffic control system designed to improve traffic flow at this location.
As with previous phases, works will require lane closures, but these will be kept to off peak times. A small number of complete overnight closures will be needed but these will be widely publicised nearer the time. The works are expected to run until March 2021 with a break over the Christmas period.
Cllr Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:
“This latest phase of works help continue to help speed up bus journeys, and journeys for all road users, along the busy A33. As previously, it is important to say the improvements are being implemented with no loss of capacity for other road users and works will take place in off-peak hours.
“Before the pandemic hit, we knew that road space in Reading was at capacity. Major housing developments planned for the south of Reading will bring even more commuter traffic into the town. Offering people realistic, easy and sustainable travel choices is the only option to manage levels of congestion and improve air quality. It is also the only way the Council can achieve making Reading a net-zero carbon town by 2030, to which we have committed.”
The Council hopes the quicker journey times will encourage even more people to use the Mereoak Park and Ride bus as a quick and easy alternative to the car. Standard day return including parking is just £4.50, with multi-ride smartcards bringing the daily cost down to £3.90 per day, or an off-peak carload for £6 Mon – Fri, £5 at evenings and weekends and Bank Holidays.
The success of the Reading Borough Council Greenwave rapid transit bus services is shown by the carriage of nearly 1.2 million passengers in 2019, four times the number in 2010.
Notes To Editor:
Funding for the South Reading MRT is provided via the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), with capital funding allocated through the LEP’s Growth Deal with central Government. The money is external funding the Council has successfully bid for and which cannot be used to fund other day-to-day Council services. Further phases of the scheme are being planned to help manage the forecast future demand on this corridor, with delivery subject to the Council again securing external funding.
The first section of the A33 bus lane – southbound between the Imperial Way (Tesco) roundabout and M4 Junction 11 – opened in December 2016. Phase 2 – running between Kennet Island and Imperial Way – opened in December 2017. Phase 3 was constructed in 2018 and focused on the town centre, with the extension of the inbound bus lane on Bridge Street, and construction of an ‘outbound’ bus lane on London Street benefitting many bus services to South Reading including the University. The 4th phase saw the widening of the A33 southbound approach to the Rose Kiln Lane junction to introduce a new bus lane and the widening of the A33 north from the Imperial Way roundabout to South Oak Way.