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Air Balloon changes could ramp up fuel costs for some commuters

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: January 25, 2013

  • Views needed: Air Balloon roundabout at Birdlip

  • Tracey Burgoyne

Comments (12)

CONTROVERSIAL changes to the Air Balloon Roundabout will cost motorists hundreds of pounds in fuel bills.

That's the view of people who face a daily drive through the A417 junction, which is subject to proposed changes by the Highways Agency.

The scheme, which is set to be trialled this summer, will see a no-right turn rule introduced for vehicles travelling along the route from Cirencester.

Tracey Burgoyne, who works as the training manager at the New Brewery Arts in Cirencester, commutes every day from her home off Old Bath Road.

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The changes will add an extra three miles to her route every day – costing her an additional £291 to her fuel costs every year, calculating on the current nation average petrol price of 132.9p per litre.

Tracey said: "The whole idea is just ludicrous. When I first heard about it, I thought it was a mistake. This will not cut accidents and it will certainly not cut anybody's fuel bills.

"All it will do is send people up the A435 instead – and the whole point of this road was originally to stop the congestion along there. I would have thought there must be a simpler solution such as traffic lights."

Jane Saunders, who lives in Cheltenham, travels to her Cirencester fashion business Monday Boutique every day.

She fears extra congestion would make the journey far slower from her home in Shurdington Road.

She said: "It would be bedlam because everyone would be coming into Cheltenham from that direction.

"It is already a very busy road as things are. I dread to think what it would be like if that was the main route for people coming from Cirencester."

She added "rat runs" through villages, such as Elkstone, would be used more heavily.

"You would end up with people are going down the hill from the Air Balloon roundabout then all the way back up again just to take the turning to Leckhampton, which is ludicrous," she said.

Matt Grove, 32, who makes regular journeys between Cheltenham and the Cotswolds, added: "If you've got to go all the way through Shurdington, it will make journeys longer and for people travelling that way regularly, costs will mount."

The Highways Agency had intended to start the trial this summer, getting feedback from residents in June.

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  • joholly  |  January 27 2013, 7:54AM

    Folk miss the logic here. By implementing this stupidity many folk will find an alternative solution to the New Problem - CREATED BY THE HA. Their solution/trial will then appear to work as they will deliberately measure the wrong data (based on traffic flow at the roundabout and ignoring the inconvenience caused to thousands every day). The trial will be a SMOKESCREEN commissioned by MORONS, who do not deserve to carry the title of manager/leader. If the local council and councillors cannot get a more sensible solution enacted they should be ashamed. I have no vested interest other than to see leadership decisions that are sensible, affordable and future proof.

    Rate   1
  • safeandnice  |  January 25 2013, 10:55PM

    Youre forgetting what this could be about. When the A417 M4 M5 link was built wasnt there a payment per vehicle to take traffic off the M4/M5 around Bristol? If you add in penalty for congestion you can see why theres an incentive to make this junction best suit the A417 traffic. If thats true and local traffic comes secondary if it has to use Shurdington Road or find its own route from Nettleton to Ullenwood thats for GH to deal with. We may be missing the bigger picture here.

    Rate   2
  • Henshrew  |  January 25 2013, 5:18PM

    Leave the roundabout as it is until the reasons preventing the addition of the 'missing link' have been overcome. The few vehicles turning right when coming from Swindon allow some movement from the A436 and Shurdington Rd. If this very silly plan goes ahead there will be almost no access to the roundabout from these two directions at busy times subsequently adding to the current long queues. What will this do for pollution in the area. A better short term solution would be to ban very heavy and very long vehicles from Birdlip Hill after all these are the ones causing and creating the pollution.

    Rate   3
  • Fbustard  |  January 25 2013, 2:19PM

    Possibly tracey can afford it, as if it's costing her £291 a year in extra fuel for 3 miles a day and on average we work 227 days a year, that £1-28 a day or a litre of fuel, so her vehicle does 3 miles to a litre or 14 miles to the gallon. If I was her I'd get a smaller car or a service, either would save her the extra costs incurred by the roundabout.

    Rate   -6
  • Fbustard  |  January 25 2013, 2:08PM

    Obviously Tracey can afford it, as by TIG reckoning it going to cost her £291 a year, given that most people only work 227 days a year, and she is only doing 3 miles a day extra and petrol cost 1-32 a litre her car must only do about 3 miles to a litre or 14 to the gallon, so I'd say get a smaller car or a service.

    Rate   -7
  • NibNobs  |  January 25 2013, 2:07PM

    If the Highways Agency were just to look at the picture above they would see the answer is simple: 1. Buy the Air Balloon and the row of houses, flatten it all and build a bigger roundabout with 2 lanes to turn left, one to turn right. Re-build pub and we already know the residents want out. 2. Build a double roundabout, the new one for the Cheltenham junction and improve the existing one. Either solution give no additional polution for the A46 Shurdington Road or the roundabout and as there will be a better flow of traffic each evening from the Cirencester direction less stop/start polution. I wonder how much the HA would pay for a 1000 page report concluding in the above 2 solutions?

    Rate   5
  • raidermanuk  |  January 25 2013, 1:41PM

    Matt1006 "it seems the HA aren't listening to any suggestions on alternative schemes, or to the potential further issues the trial will create" They are not in the business of listening to the public however well considered their ideas or genuine their concerns. Instead they continue to peddle their own blinkered agenda with arrogance and no accountability to the long suffering public. As for the missing link and the ensuing carnage, it's a matter of statistics rather than humanity so nothing significant will happen.

    Rate   5
  • Matt1006  |  January 25 2013, 12:17PM

    We've had numerous articles on this in recent weeks, and it seems the HA aren't listening to any suggestions on alternative schemes, or to the potential further issues the trial will create. So I guess in the short term we wait for the trial to happen, and then potentially all say "we told you so" when the congestion and excessive pollution problems are relocated elsewhere (most likely to the A46 Shurdington Road). Then - hopefully - the HA will realise that the no-right-turn set-up doesn't work, and they'll be back to Square One. We will then wait for their next suggestion to sort out the congestion and pollution at the Air Balloon, and also the Missing Link issue as a whole. Perhaps the next idea might be better thought out. Time will tell.

    Rate   4
  • QuedgeleyGuy  |  January 25 2013, 11:01AM

    I'm with nibnobs on this. How about a double or spilt roundabout. Swindon has the Magic Roundabout that I think is about a 9 in 1 job. That works.

    Rate   3
  • NibNobs  |  January 25 2013, 8:43AM

    Let's have a proper solution with a much bigger junction/roundabout - If people are so worried about losing The Air Balloon pub, I'm sure it could be taken down stone by stone and re-built up the road in either direction. If it can be done to an old derelict church in the North West it can be done here. Most of the pub restaurant is a modern addition anyway so it's only the original structure that would need careful dismantling. Just GET ON with it!

    Rate   13