Fringe Box



Residents Get Close-Up View of the Ash Road Bridge Project

Published on: 15 May, 2024
Updated on: 17 May, 2024

A bird’s eye view of residents watching work in progress (click on images to enlarge)

By David Reading

Guildford Borough Council says it is on course to open the new Ash road bridge to traffic in November of this year.

During the May bank holiday weekend, members of the public were invited onto the site to see for themselves how the work is progressing.

Public interest in the project was high – after all, this project is a major development for Ash

Around 200 people turned up in batches of 50 as a 750-tonne mobile crane installed the main pre-cast bridge beams and the Volker Fitzpatrick workforce put in place permanent glass-reinforced plastic panels between the pre-cast beams which support the concrete deck.

The east edge beam is lifted into place by a 750 tonne mobile crane

Ash South councillors Sue Wyeth-Price and David Shaw (Residents for Guildford and Villages) said they instigated the public viewing because the new bridge was such a major event for Ash and council taxpayers would wish to have some idea what they are getting for their money.

Preparing to lift the beam into place

Lead councillor for Regeneration Tom Hunt (Lib Dem, St Nicolas) said afterwards: “We were delighted with the turnout for the viewing sessions. Around 200 people came along to get a front-row view of the beams being installed over the railway. Everyone I spoke to was very interested in the project and pleased to hear that it’s progressing well. We’re hoping that the bridge will be open to traffic in November.”

The Ash road bridge project has been beset by controversy over the years. Although some people argue that the bridge will put an end to the frequent traffic hold-ups at Ash level crossing, others fear that the traffic problems will simply be shifted elsewhere in Ash.

Questions have been raised, too, about the cost of the project, originally estimated at £15 million. An independent examination of the finances by Tongham resident John Ferns suggested the cost could grow to as much as £110 million long-term – a contention contested by the council.

See: Ash Road Bridge: Detailed Analysis Shows ‘Long-Term Cost Could Soar’

Public interest in the project was high – the project is a major development for Ash

And the question of whether there will eventually be a pedestrian footbridge at Ash Station – said by some to be essential – is still unclear. Network Rail has yet to establish whether the footbridge is affordable.

See: Network Rail Casts Doubts Over Ash Station Footbridge Project

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