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City Roundabouts Spark Controversy

The junctions facing change as part of Swansea Council traffic plans

Council wants to revamp road junctions

Plans to replace three mini-roundabouts with traffic lights at a busy Swansea junction have prompted dismay from some people living nearby.

Thousands of motorists use the Broadway interchange every day, and Swansea Council chiefs are worried that it will become increasingly congested.

They want to replace the double mini-roundabout connecting Cockett Road, Townhill Road, Broadway, Vivian Road and – in one direction only – Lon Cadog, with a set of traffic lights.

And the mini-roundabout 150 metres down the hill, which connects Vivian Road, Glanmor Road and Tycoch Road, will also be replaced by lights.

The two sets of lights will be linked to speed up the flow of traffic – but the current right turn from Townhill Road onto Cockett Road is to be removed.
The council has to carry out the work this financial year to meet the terms of a Welsh Government transport grant.

“It is imperative that we get this right,” said Councillor Mark Thomas, cabinet member for environment and infrastructure management.

“The current mini-roundabouts will fail in a couple of years from now. We’ve got to do something.”

Traffic lights, he added, were better for pedestrians and could provide a priority lane for buses.

Councillor Thomas said a drop-in session would be organised next month to enable residents to see the scheme in detail, but while there was scope for a potential tweak or two he said there wouldn’t be a wholesale redesign.

Uplands councillor Peter May has consulted residents on the proposals, and said the no-right turn from Townhill Road onto Cockett Road was a worry.

“I would see if there was a way of retaining that right turn without undermining the (new) system,” he said.

Councillor May said he would also press for 20mph and access only signs on an adjacent set of residential roads, known as the Lons, to deter any potential rat-runs.

“Traffic does not disappear; it just get moved around,” he said.

Council officers have modelled the current traffic flow, and said fewer than 10% of motorists at the Townhill Road-Cockett Road traffic junction turned right.

Councillor Thomas said motorists wanting to turn right would  use alternative routes, for example Lon Coed Bran and then Gwynedd Avenue.

“The alternative routes are under-capacity and can easily cope,” said the cabinet member.

The council also said the new layout, which would take up to 24 weeks to complete and cost around £1 million, would improve safety – particularly at the steeply-sloping Vivian Road-Tycoch Road mini-roundabout.

People have been posting their views on Facebook, including John Britton, who said he feared a displacement of traffic onto surrounding roads.

He added: “One million pounds is a significant amount of cash, where is the cost benefit analysis?”

Charles Willson-Watkins wrote: “The whole thing is a mess.”

A council spokesman said it was vital to plan ahead.

“We have a number of large employment zones nearby such as a college, university and hospital and it is essential that this main route is upgraded to keep traffic flows moving more efficiently,” he said.

“We will be taking on board feedback and concerns of residents and motorists prior to the final scheme being implemented.”
 

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