Work ramps up at Moonrakers junction as utility work comes to an end

By Jamie Hill - 28 November 2020

Community

The £2.8m improvement scheme to reduce journey times at the Moonrakers junction is gaining momentum as several utility companies prepare to finish up on site.

Recent work has included diverting some major communications cables which provide services for North Swindon, Cirencester and Gloucester.

BT workers, who have been working extensively on the north-east corner of the junction, have been on site joining over 10,000 wires and fibres between the four major cables at the junction, some of which are up to one and a half miles long.

Once major utility networks have been diverted out of the way and work beneath the road surface is complete, contractors Alun Griffiths Ltd will progress work above the road surface, including laying kerb stones and installing traffic islands.

More workers have also been brought on site to progress the next stages of the scheme, starting work on the new layout. They are all working within the Government’s COVID-19 guidelines.

The junction sits over significant utility pipes, cables and other hardware that serve Swindon and the wider area, all of which have to be moved and protected before work to change the road layout can take place. This work will also ensure the essential utility services that residents rely on are not disrupted.

The utilities work has taken longer than anticipated with some utility companies, which the Council is reliant on, having faced significant delays following disruption from the pandemic. The contractor has been supporting the utilities companies where possible to help speed up the work.

Following the completion of the utility work, the Council will be re-opening Whitworth Road westbound on Monday (30 Nov) which will allow motorists to exit the Moonrakers junction onto Whitworth Road.

The eastbound lane will remain closed until further notice and the current diversion will remain in place.  

Ward councillors engaged residents on the different traffic management options and 95 per cent of residents were in favour of opening Whitworth Road westbound only.

During the course of the Whitworth Road closure, the Council has completed preparatory work ready for smart traffic lights to be installed, progressed drainage work, begun laying new kerbs along the road and installed a central traffic island - meaning work on this entrance to the junction is largely complete.

It is not anticipated that any further road closures will be needed at the junction until the re-surfacing work takes place at the end of the scheme.

Councillor Maureen Penny, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, Maintenance and Waste Services, said: “I’m pleased that the major utility work at the junction is almost complete. It is imperative this work is finished before any further work progresses on the junction in order to ensure residents continue to receive the utility services they pay for.

“Once we have finished work underneath the ground we will be able to start completing work on top of the road surface which will mean progress is much more visible to residents.

“I’d like to thank motorists, residents and local businesses for their patience while this important scheme is underway.”

Residents can stay up to date with the progress of the scheme by signing up to the Moonrakers newsletter: www.swindon.gov.uk/newsletter

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