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Jury still out on Newbury bypass

THE NEWBURY bypass is having only a patchy effect on reducing traffic in the town, according to figures produced by West Berkshire Council this week.

While traffic on Newbury's A339 inner ring road has fallen by just over 30%, this is less than the forecast drop of 40%, and elsewhere the bypass is 'only having a marginal influence'.

Research undertaken by the council eight months after the opening of the bypass showed traffic levels on Newbury's inner ring road down by between 31% and 34%. But most of the fall was concentrated outside the morning and evening rush hours, where traffic fell by just 15% to 25%.

Falls of up to 42% have been recorded on outer sections of the A339. The council report suggests the ring road has not benefited similarly as local traffic was making greater use of the freed up road space. The pedestrianisation of the town centre has also pushed traffic onto the ring road.

While admitting that 'traffic flows on the A339 are still high for an urban road', a council spokesman claimed the route was fulfilling its intended purpose of carrying local traffic.

But elsewhere the bypass appears to be having little effect on traffic flows. The A4 Bath Road, for example, saw traffic levels fall by 1%. 'There is no consistent pattern of traffic change over the Newbury network as a whole,' claims the report.

The council spokesman said other traffic reduction measures were planned, including phase two of the town centre pedestrianisation scheme.

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