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Government Grants Extra £14m for Ash Station Road Bridge Project

Published on: 18 Apr, 2021
Updated on: 18 Apr, 2021

The route of the new Ash flyover or bridge. Image GBC.

By David Reading

The government’s Homes England has granted an extra £14 million to the borough council’s road bridge project replacing the level-crossing at Ash station. This is in addition to the £10 million already promised by the organisation.

The total £39 million budget, including £5 million for a footbridge, was approved at a full meeting of the council on April 13. In June 2019, the total estimated bill for both bridges was said to be about £20 million.

The road bridge, to be operating in 2023, is expected to reduce traffic congestion at the notorious bottleneck and aid building of new housing.

The council says reasons for the increase include an update to the works to reflect detailed design, including additional planting and amendments to the flood compensation design. In addition, the contractors have signalled that there has been an increase in prices since 2018.

Cllr Marsha Moseley: “The silent majority support the bridge”

Nearby residents have long expressed deep reservations about the project, questioning whether the project would simply cause congestions elsewhere in the area. Others voiced fears that any shortfall in funding could force council taxpayers to foot a large part of the bill.

But the deputy mayor, Cllr Marsha Moseley (Ash Vale), told councillors she believed “the silent majority” would be pleased the bridges will be built.

Cllr John Rigg, lead for Regeneration, called the project as “a council success story”. echoed by Cllr Paul Spooner (Ash South & Tongham).

Cllr John Rigg: “A council success story”

Apart from Homes England, contributions have also been pledged by Network Rail and by the developers building housing in the area, under Section 106 agreements.

Dawn Hudd, GBC’s director of Strategic Services, said: “The extra funding from Homes England is fantastic. We received very positive contributions from residents in our public information sessions, and there will be further opportunities for participation and feedback.

“The new road bridge, and planned footbridge, provide badly needed infrastructure investment for the area, especially in supporting the arrival of new housing. The plan is to make the area safer for cyclists and pedestrians, and less congested for drivers while also improving air quality.

Cllr Paul Spooner agreed quick progress had been made

“The crossing barrier is down sometimes for 25 minutes every hour and barrier downtime will increase in line with the expected increase in train services. This has a huge impact on local residents, especially as cars often queue for long periods with engines running.”

The new route will avoid the present level-crossing site by taking traffic heading along the A323 in the Guildford direction right into Foreman Road. There they will join a new roundabout near the access to the Ellsworth Park development.

Traffic will then pass over the railway via the bridge, through the new Copperwood development, joining the roundabout at the end of Ash Hill Road (the Dover Arms site).

The crossing will remain open until the footbridge is built, which will be after the road bridge.

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