WORK to further speed up bus journey times by building a dedicated bus lane through two key A33 sections begins at the end of this month (July 30th).
The latest phase of the South Reading Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) scheme will see 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.
At both locations the current two lanes of traffic will be maintained, meaning quicker journey times for bus passengers and all other road users.
Work is due to begin on Monday July 30th. Two lanes of traffic will be maintained both in the morning and evening peak periods, but this will be reduced to one lane in off peak hours for the improvement works to take place. Access to local businesses will be maintained at all times. The scheme is expected to be complete in Spring 2019.
Overnight full closures of the A33 may be needed for road resurfacing towards the end of the project. The dates of these closures and diversions will be publicised in advance.
Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:
“This is now the 4th phase of a series of bus corridor improvements delivered by the Council to make our bus services even more reliable and to speed up journey times for all road users on the A33.
“Road space in Reading is already at capacity. With major housing developments planned on the edge of the borough boundary in future years, offering people realistic, easy and sustainable travel choices is the only option to manage levels of congestion and improve air quality.
“This scheme is about speeding up bus journey times between central Reading and residential and employment areas to the south, in order to make choosing the bus an even more attractive option for people. It is also important to note the new bus lane is not at the expense of a lane of traffic, it is in addition to the two existing lanes, meaning no loss of capacity for other road users.
“During the works the approach to the junction will be reduced to one lane, but this will be in off peak hours only and will return to full capacity for both the morning and evening peak periods.”
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 £3.28 per day, or an off peak car load for £5.50.
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 started earlier this year 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, now almost complete.