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Letter: The Case For Keeping Level-crossing at Ash

Published on: 7 Jan, 2021
Updated on: 6 Jan, 2021

Ash level crossing

From: Bibhas Neogi

In response to: Can We Really Afford This Bridge?

Level-crossings are annoying if you get caught at the barriers but these crossings were built when much less traffic was on our roads.

I live in Farncombe where there are two level-crossings and sometimes they are closed for much longer periods when two trains pass both ways nearly at the same time.

Trevor Jones’ comment highlights the need to reschedule the timings of connecting trains if that will remove the danger of people attempting to cross unsafely.

Building a bridge to reduce such delays in most cases cannot be justified in terms of benefit over costs. In this particular crossing in Ash, this would also be the case.

But the railway overbridge scheme can be promoted only on the back of a large-scale development such as this, where some 1,700 housing units would be built.

I do not know how much the developers are contributing under the S106 provision, which is somewhat restricted to mitigate the effect of the development on existing road network.

Guildford Borough Council has yet to switch to charging Community Infrastructure Levy that probably would have sought a greater contribution from the developers.

The estimate for the bridge has gone up from £15m to £26m and therefore the additional funding has to be found to progress the scheme.

Provision of a footbridge to replace the level crossing is also being considered but a footbridge now must have ramps that satisfy design standards and slopes are much flatter, typically one in 20 or a bit steeper but with landings and change of directions.

Steps plus ramps increase the overall space required for a footbridge and, of course, costs.

If the number of pedestrians is large and they have to cross a very busy road or multiple railway tracks, footbridges are the solution. Otherwise, at grade crossings and level-crossings with the railway tracks should be acceptable.

I would prefer retention of the level-crossing for non-motorised traffic because a footbridge would mean climbing some six metres up the steps and then down again or extra walking distance of some 250 metres on the ramps that would take nearly three minutes as opposed to waiting for four minutes at the barrier.

What do you want to do ?

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