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Letter: If It Is Not Too Late the Council Should Cancel Bridge Project

Published on: 14 Jun, 2020
Updated on: 14 Jun, 2020

An artist’s impression of how the replacement bridge will look.

From Bibhas Neogi

In response to: Walnut Bridge Construction Underway to Improve Town Centre Access for Pedestrians and Cyclists

The new Walnut Bridge will be too narrow for unsegregated pedestrian and cycle usage together with wrapped ramps that pose safety issues.

The ramps with massive foundations and taking up a lot of the plaza area will also block the view towards the river.

Anti-social activities out of hours in this quieter area will be a problem until the plaza has other amenities but what will they be?

The new bridge project is the product of a piecemeal approach to infrastructure developments. Greater use of buses warrants a bus station close to both the town centre and the railway station. North Street development and on-street bus bays or an integrated bus station do not provide the answer.

Bedford Road car park site has been identified by GBC consultants as the only GBC owned site that is close to an ideal solution for a relocated bus station. Yet the council is going ahead with this bridge that could have been designed to cater for buses out to Walnut Tree Close as well as segregated pedestrians and cyclists.

The designed bridge will be expensive to maintain; it will require specialist access over the river for inspection and maintenance of fairly large areas of painted steel and enclosures to contain pollutants when repainting work is done.

If the consultant had carried out a whole-life cost, they would have opted for a much simpler bridge in either weathering steel or concrete beams.

Unless it is really too late, the council should consider cancelling this contract.

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