Bristol’s rapid bus network is set to more than double after the Department for Transport confirmed a further £27m grant today to help expand the MetroBus scheme in the south of the city.
Ministers have given final approval for the money to be released to support the total £43.3m cost of the new South Bristol Link project - scheduled for completion by November 2016 - a key section of the £200m Metrobus project.
The new link will consist of 3.1 miles of busways connecting the Ashton Vale to Temple Meads MetroBus section, which is already under construction after receiving a £34m grant from the Government in September.
Transport minister Baroness Kramer said: ‘This £27m will help transform travel around Bristol. The South Bristol Link will help get traffic off the roads, spark economic growth and link people to jobs. Our investment continues our commitment to help build stronger local economies, give our cities first-rate transport systems and benefit the UK as a whole.’
The new project involves a combined new road and rapid transit link to the south and west of Bristol city centre between the A370 Long Ashton Bypass and Hengrove Park and will encourage cycling and walking by the inclusion of safe, dedicated paths running alongside the routes.
A spokesman for the Joint Transport Board of the West of England said: 'We are pleased to have gained Full Approval – the final tick in the box that allows us to start work on the ground. If all goes according to plan, the South Bristol Link will be open by the winter of 2016 providing a new express bus service from Long Ashton to Hengrove.
'The South Bristol Link supports much needed jobs in South Bristol and helps tackle congestion and poor air quality by linking with the other two MetroBus routes to give a more comfortable, reliable and faster public transport choice to the city centre and the north of Bristol.'