The White Hart roundabout is finally set to reopen to motorists for the first time since the summer.
Swindon Borough Council announced today the major junction the area will reopen on November 14 – weeks before the extended December deadline previously advertised.
The news will be welcomed by shoppers and businesses in the area, with stores at Bridgemead feeling the pinch since the roundabout closed in mid-August when it was discovered the road was at risk of sinking.
The overrunning £30m project is due to be completed in February next year, when the the new northbound slip road to the A419 will be opened.
Councillor Gary Sumner, the deputy leader of Swindon Borough Council and cabinet member for strategic infrastructure, transport and planning, said: “The reconstruction work at White Hart roundabout was a significant challenge and I am extremely grateful that our contractor was able to get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible, despite the complications with the weakened clay underneath the road base.
“I know that the last three months have been incredibly frustrating for both local residents and businesses and I do sincerely apologise for the inconvenience, but had this work not been completed, there was a high probability that the road base would fail in the short term. We can now be confident that White Hart roundabout will be fit to last for decades to come.
“Although the roundabout has reopened, lane closures will still be needed on the carriageway until the new northbound A419 slip road is opened. I’d like to thank residents and businesses for their ongoing patience while this work continues.”
Although the roundabout will be open, there will still be surfacing works left to complete on the A420 and surrounding slip roads.
This work will take place at under night-time closures between November and December to reduce the impact on residents and trade for retailers. Further details of these closures will be announced by the council closer to the time.
There will still be traffic management, including lane closures and temporary direction signage as work continues on the junction improvement once the roundabout has reopened.
The roundabout was closed to traffic in an unscheduled move on August 16 after contractors discovered significant defects in the road base underneath the roundabout while completing the junction improvement works.
There was a further extension of planned three-month works when a higher-than-expected groundwater table was discovered. This saw an extra 4four weeks added onto the closure time.
But dry weather through September and October and what the council says is hard work from contractor Osborne Infrastructure Ltd has seen progress made.
White Hart is one of several key junctions being upgraded to help mitigate the impact of the New Eastern Villages (NEV) development being built to the east of the A419.
The schemes at Gablecross roundabout, Nythe Road and Piccadilly roundabout are also progressing well despite utility complications, and are scheduled to be completed this winter. These roads remain open to motorists, and residents are being encouraged to be mindful of the operatives working on these schemes when travelling in the area.
Residents can stay up to date with roadworks as part of the NEV scheme by signing up to the NEV newsletter: www.swindon.gov.uk/newsletter