Plan for a nine-mile cycle lane along the A4 between Bath and Bristol

The proposal would also see buses along the route every five minutes

<p>Keynsham bypass - where a segregated cycle route could be introduced</p>

Keynsham bypass - where a segregated cycle route could be introduced

A nine-mile segregated cycle lane will be introduced along the A4 between Bath and Bristol in a bid to cut down car use and congestion.

Buses will also leave every five minutes from Bath and see their route prioritised as part of a new vision for the “strategic corridor” between the two cities.

Currently less than a fifth of the A4 has formal cycle facilities which, along with concerns about the poor air quality and safety, put people off getting on their bikes.

There are also stretches of dual carriageway, including around Keynsham between the Hicks Gate roundabout and Broadmead roundabout.

The strategy by Bath and North East Somerset Council comes as it was revealed Bristol was the third most congested city in the UK.

One of the major hold-ups into the city is the A4 Bath Road from Brislington into the city centre - although the proposed strategic corridor would only go as far as the Bristol boundary.

A map of the Bristol to Bath strategic corridor

A report to the council’s cabinet meeting next week says: “The increase in population from housing growth, and the increase in the working population, will increase the travel demand along the corridor.

“If more attractive sustainable alternatives are not introduced this growth will result in higher congestion in the area, poorer air quality and higher carbon emissions.

“There is an opportunity to “lock in” sustainable travel choices for the current and future residents along the Bristol to Bath corridor if the bus, walking and cycling infrastructure and services can be provided to serve new housing development.”

If no action is taken, the cost of congestion in the West of England could increase to £800million a year by 2036.

The vision for the Bristol and Bath strategic corridor is “to create a high quality segregated and prioritised public transport, cycling and walking corridor that will provide for reliable services to encourage people to use sustainable transport modes for short and mid-distance journeys and contribute to tackling the climate emergency through modal shift.”

It aims to provide reliable, high quality, zero emission buses leaving every five minutes between Bath bus station and Bristol Temple Meads, 24-hour bus priority, with a simple, fast and convenient off-board ticketing system.

The plan to increase cycling between the two cities is to create a continuous, direct, high-quality cycle route that is segregated from general traffic and buses.

New cycle hangars are also proposed, while select bus stops may become mobility hubs.

Authorities will take a “pick and mix” approach, introducing larger interventions where acceptable and smaller interventions where the constraints make it necessary to do so.

If the £150million project is approved, construction work is expected to begin at the start of 2025.