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A322 Downshire Way dualling

Background

We have been successful in securing government funds to undertake, in partnership with the Department for Transport, transport improvements to the A322 Downshire Way. This forms part of the important A329/A322 corridor linking the M3(J3) and M4(J10). As part of the transport plan for this corridor, we have invested in upgrading junctions along this route over the last 5 years to provide a better managed corridor and more reliable journey times.

In March 2017, the Government launched the National Productivity Investment Fund which aims to unlock pinch points along strategic corridors affecting regional and local routes. We have been successful in securing funds to make the full length of Downshire Way a dual carriageway, which at present can be congested along its length. This congestion presents challenges for air quality and also acts as a constraint to growth within Bracknell and across the region.

You can find more on our National Productivity Investment Fund page.

What is happening?

The improvement scheme will convert the A322 between the Twin Bridges Roundabout and the Horse and Groom roundabout (Downshire Way) to 2 lanes in both directions. Currently, the sections with 2 lanes are limited and Downshire Way acts as a localised bottleneck for traffic on A329/A322 corridor. The improvement scheme will also remove the signalised bus gate and introduce new traffic signals at the junction with Old Bracknell Lane West.

Once complete, the Downshire Way scheme will contribute towards:

  • more reliable journey times
  • the ability for local residents to move more easily around the local road network
  • reduced congestion which in turn improves air quality
  • a fully renewed road surface, free from defects, which will reduce noise pollution
  • enhancement of the natural environment through extra tree planting, hedgerow creation and meadow enrichment

During the design of this scheme road safety remains crucial. Any road safety risks have been assessed and the design includes features to ensure road user risks are reduced to their lowest level. This includes a continuous central reservation on Downshire Way, which will prevent vehicles turning right into, and out from, Frog Lane and The Downshire Arms pub. Currently, drivers undertaking these right-turn manoeuvres from Downshire Way are doing so at considerable risk by utilising the outside lane of a dual carriageway.

Why is the scheme needed?

The scheme will improve traffic flow and journey times along Downshire Way which is currently congested during peak periods. It will also contribute to the council’s current plans for development growth, including the delivery of 11,000 new dwellings by 2026.

When will the work take place?

Work will start on Monday, 18 February with the initial set-up of the works site and removal of the affected trees. We will do everything possible to keep disruption to a minimum and will try to keep periods of disruption to off-peak periods (9:30am to 4pm). We expect the work to last about 18 months, completing in July 2020, assuming normal weather conditions.

Layout

The document below includes the layout of the new dual carriageway scheme and the greenway project to enhance the natural environment in the area.

Main elements

The scheme consists of the following main elements:

  • widening the A322 Downshire Way to form a continuous dual carriageway (extending the 2 lanes sections to cover its entire length)
  • lengthening the existing subway structure beneath Downshire Way
  • signalisation of the Old Bracknell Lane West Junction with the A322 Downshire Way
  • removal of the signalised bus gate across Downshire Way
  • a central reservation (where required)
  • diversion of the adjacent southern footway/cycleway to an alternative quieter route
  • greenway works to improve the natural environment of the A322 Downshire Way and surrounding areas.

You can view the plan showing changes to bus, cycle and pedestrian routes below.

The greenway project

The natural spaces alongside roads are important for making the borough visually appealing and they connect surrounding habitats for plants and wildlife.

To harness and increase the environmental benefits of highway corridors, this scheme incorporates a ‘greenway’ project. This project means that as well as replacing any trees that have to be removed, we will also be planting a wide range of woodland, hedgerow, meadows and wildlife habitat works to maximise the benefits for people and wildlife.

Wherever possible we will keep existing trees, but to create a larger highway some trees will have to be removed. The greenway project will minimise the impact of the highway changes and will also create a better natural environment for the future.

The key parts of the greenway project are:

  • feature tree planting – in key locations to provide large trees for the future in prominent positions alongside the highway
  • woodland enhancements – to improve the structure and quality of the woodland
  • hedgerow creation – to improve the look of pedestrian and roadside edges and create valuable linear habitat to shelter and feed wildlife
  • meadow enrichment – to improve the quantity, quality and appearance of roadside meadows
  • interpretation and sculpture – to aid public understanding of the environmental features and to turn felled tree timber into something long lasting
  • orchard creation – to grow fruit, enhance community cohesion and help to replace this lost habitat for the future
  • elm reintroduction planting – the planting of elms either bred to be disease resistant or which contain compounds within the bark that makes them unappealing to the beetles which carry Dutch Elm Disease - these trees will replace those lost and provide valuable habitat to butterflies which rely on this tree
  • man made habitats – the installation of bird boxes, bug hotels, bat boxes, hedgehog houses and more

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