Williams Field Lane to Monnow Bridge Active Travel Route
We would like to provide you with an update on the progress of the Williams Field Lane to Monnow Bridge Active Travel link proposal since the last online public consultation in February 2022.
Why have changes been proposed?
The need for an Active Travel link at this location was first recognised during Monmouthshire Council’s Active Travel Integrated Network Map (INM) submission to the Welsh Government in 2018. The link between the entrance to Williams Field Lane and Monnow Bridge is a relatively short but important link in the wider Active Travel network as it will provide direct access to Monnow Bridge and the services and facilities within the town centre. The route will connect Williams Field Lane to Monmouth town centre via Wonastow Road and Drybridge Street, and also provide connections from Rockfield Road skatepark to the town centre. At the Wonastow Road end, the proposed route would connect to another active travel route running between the Kingswood Gate development and Williams Field Lane.
The new housing development at Kingswood Gate has been one of the key drivers for changes being proposed. Local population growth will inevitably lead to more journeys and pressure on local highway network. This can result in greater congestion, pollution, and further negative impacts on the economy. Walking and cycling have a significant role to play in making transport run more efficiently. Therefore, to enable efficient and sustainable mobility, integrating planning and housing growth with transport planning from the outset has never been more important. The first two phases of the Kingswood to Williams Field Lane route have already been constructed and the proposed scheme would tie into this new route at the Wonastow Road/Williams Field Lane junction.
The study area is shown in Figure 1.
- Provide a coherent, direct, safe, comfortable, and attractive walking and cycling network from Overmonnow to surrounding communities, services, and facilities across Monmouth;
- Increase levels of sustainable access to employment, health, education, and services;
- Positively impact actual and perceived pedestrian, cyclist, and wheelchair user’s safety along and across the study area;
- Achieve a modal shift in Monmouth towards more sustainable forms of transport for all journeys; and
- Reduce the negative impacts of transport on the natural and built environment.
The proposed scheme will seek approval and funding from the Welsh Government’s Active Travel Fund and has therefore been developed in line with the Welsh Transport Appraisal Guidance (WelTAG). The WelTAG process covers the complete lifecycle of a proposed intervention in the transport system from assessment of the problem, consideration of possible solutions and scheme design, through to implementation and project evaluation. WelTAG studies are an essential part of major transport projects in Wales to help decide which are the most appropriate solutions to develop, and important in the support of bids to Welsh Government for funding grants to complete the works. Schemes such as this one are usually progressed over several years from concept through to detailed design and are then dependent on the approval of funding from Welsh Government for the construction phase.
The first dedicated transport appraisal guidance for Wales was published in 2008 and updated in 2017. In 2022 a new draft guidance has been published to reflect Llwybr Newydd, the new Wales transport strategy 2021. WelTAG involves a series of project planning stages that follow the life of a project, programme or policy from early ideas to after it is completed. There are five WelTAG stages, as shown in Figure 2. Stages 1 and 2 of the project have been completed in August 2022, and we are currently at WelTAG Stage 3.
Click here to view the new draft Welsh Transport Appraisal Guidance (not yet adopted)
Click Here to view the Welsh Transport Appraisal Guidance 2017
Scheme Progress to Date
At the start of this project and in line with the WelTAG process the project team developed a wide list of possible solutions, sufficient to be able to decide whether there are any scheme options worth pursuing and to select a short list of options for more detailed consideration. The long list of options was developed based on the outcomes of the first phase of public consultation (which took place between 9th June and 2nd July 2021), engagement with the key stakeholders (MCC’s officers, Councillors, Transport for Wales, groups representing people with disabilities, Sustrans, bus operators, etc.), site visits, brainstorming sessions with the project design team and the need to align with the priorities for transport in Wales set out in the Wales Transport Strategy. The long list of options was agreed with MCC and included nine options. These nine options were then sifted based on:
- The ability to prevent, or solve the problem now and in the future;
- The ability to meet the objectives set and improve the social, cultural, environment and economic well-being of Wales;
- Short- and long-term impacts to deliver multiple benefits across the four aspects of well-being and maximise contribution to all seven well-being goals of Wales;
- Deliverability; and
- Robustness to uncertainty and potential to drive long lasting change.
Three options were shortlisted to be taken on to the next Stage 2 of the appraisal process for a more rigorous assessment. A key to the sifting process was the second phase of public consultation, which took place between the 5th of January and 16th February 2022. A total of 133 members of the public responded to the online consultation questionnaire, 41% of which selected the current proposal as their preferred option. 28% selected Option 9 (no improvements, only routine maintenance), 20% chose Option 8&4 (cycle lane on carriageway along Wonastow Road and walking and cycling improvements on Somerset Road and Goldwire Lane) and 11% prefer Option 5 (footway improvements with cycle lane on carriageway along Wonastow Road to Monnow Bridge via the B4233). As a result, Option 2 (detailed below) was recommended as a preferred option at the end of the WelTAG Stage 1&2 study.
Subsequently, MCC commissioned a Stage 3 study and have been undertaking tasks to enable the implementation of the proposal, such as:
- A traffic survey at the Wonastow Road/Rockfield Road mini-roundabout junction to enable a traffic modelling exercise;
- Installation of the artificial intelligence sensors to gather anonymous 24/7 data on transport modes, traffic flow and travel patterns within the study area;
- A 12-hour parking survey undertaken on 11th October 2022 along Wonastow Road;
- Meetings have been held with the local Councillors regarding the proposed removal of parking in order for the route to be compliant with Active Travel Act Guidance;
- A letter drop to residents along Wonastow Road to inform them about the proposed removal of car parking spaces;
- A section of Rockfield Road has been added to the study area in order to improve connection with Monmouth Skatepark and Rockfield Road car park;
- Preparation for further stakeholder engagement activities (such as stakeholder workshops, and technical meetings); and
- A more detailed scheme design along with a Road Safety Audit Stage 4 and development of a scheme construction cost estimate.
The proposed scheme would provide the following:
- Widening the existing footway on the northern side of Wonastow Road to accommodate a shared use footway/cycleway 3m-3.5m wide which will be achieved through a slight narrowing down of the carriageway (two lanes for traffic will be maintained);
- Replacing the existing Wonastow Road/Rockfield Road mini-roundabout with a priority junction, with Wonastow Road becoming a minor arm. This change is intended to discourage heavy traffic from using the aforementioned roads and to encourage them to use the Link Road instead. A modelling exercise was undertaken to ensure that the junction will continue to operate within capacity after it has been converted;
- Providing a simple uncontrolled pedestrian crossing on Wonastow Road, immediately west of the new priority junction. The crossing would have dropped kerbs and yellow tactile paving.
- Providing a parallel crossing on Rockfield Road immediately north of the new priority junction.
Parallel crossing for pedestrians and cyclists provides more demand responsive and a lower cost solution to accommodate cycle and pedestrian crossing movements next to each other, compared to signalised facilities. The crossing is similar to a Zebra crossing, but with a separate cycle crossing indicated by ‘Elephant Footprint’ markings and cycle symbols located between Zebra stripes and give way line.
- Widening the existing footway on the eastern side of Rockfield Road from the new priority junction to Monmouth Skatepark. This will be achieved through a slight narrowing down of the carriageway. Traffic would still be able to use both lanes, and the existing bus stops would be unaffected (only the bus stop boarding platform on the western side of the road will be moved slightly to the north);
- Adding tactile paving to the uncontrolled crossing on Rockfield Road, at the entrance of the Monmouth Skatepark.
- To facilitate pedestrians a simple uncontrolled crossing would be provided to the north of the existing bus stops, with dropped kerbs and yellow tactile paving;
- Widening of a short section of the existing footway along B4233 Drybridge Street near the Monnow Bridge roundabout;
- Removing sections of on-street parking along Wonastow Road to deliver the route in line with the Active Travel Act Guidance. To allow this, the scheme proposes permit parking ONLY for a large part along Drybridge Street, while still maintaining a small area for short stay. The exact layout of this parking is yet to be confirmed and will be agreed at the detail design stage. The removal of this on-street parking will be included in MCC’s Traffic Amendment Order No.11, which is due to be consulted on in May 2023.
Click Here to view the Active Travel Guidance.
The next stages in the scheme development include:
- Completion of WelTAG Stage 3 (March 2023)
- Funding application and approval (April 2023)
- Construction activity funding dependent and parking Traffic Regulation Order dependent (June-September 2023)
- Post scheme monitoring (October 2023, October 2024)
Have Your Say
If you would like to provide any comments with regards to the scheme proposal, please submit this form.
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This post is also available in: Welsh