CAST your minds back to the bygone days of March 2020.

Plans to increase capacity on the section of Mead Way between the Meads roundabout and Withymeads roundabout began, with the goal of spending 12 weeks on each side of the road to complete the project.

But as the pandemic worsened, social distancing measures restricted the amount of workers allowed on-site at a time, utilities companies furloughed some of their staff, subcontractors travelling into Swindon could not stay overnight because hotels had shut, and some crews could not travel to the site together.

The months ticked by and the first phase focusing on improvements between the Meads and Westmead roundabout finished a year after it began.

Britannia Construction Ltd started work on Phase 2 for the stretch between Westmead and Withymead roundabouts in January 2021.

At different times in the process, through official council releases or promises made during public meetings, the deadline was guaranteed to be autumn 2020, spring, June, late summer, and the end of October 2021, then the end of this month - Tuesday.

The delays frustrated business owners and inconvenienced people who used the route as a shortcut from Great Western Way and had to go the long way round to reach their destination. 

When all is said and done, an additional lane which can accommodate around 100 cars in stationary traffic will go northbound from Great Western Way to the Simply Gym and Kidz About.

Plus, that section of Mead Way will be resurfaced and the roundabout at Westmead Drive and Stonehill Green will be turned into a signalised crossroad junction with a toucan crossing on Westmead Drive.

The extra lane will provide additional space for cars exiting the Meads roundabout.

The council suggests journey times will improve at Paddington Drive in the afternoon rush hour going westbound and that the change from a roundabout to traffic lights at the Westmead junction could improve southbound journey times in the morning peak.

Design capacity for urban single carriageway roads with one lane in each direction would have a capacity of 1,300 vehicles per hour and this doubles to 2,600 vehicles per hour with two lanes.