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Walnut Bridge Replacement – Preliminary Work To Start This Month

Published on: 10 Feb, 2017
Updated on: 11 Feb, 2017

Walnut Bridge

Preliminary work to replace the pedestrian Walnut Bridge, installed in 1986,  that crosses the River Wey between the railway station and the Odeon cinema, will start later this month (February 2017). The new bridge, described as “iconic” in a Guildford Borough Council (GBC) press release, will be of “cable stay” design.

The first stage of the project, with a previously estimated cost of £2.7 million, will involve a range of geotechnical surveys to understand ground conditions, which will inform the design of the bridge – particularly the bridge foundations. Following the detailed design, on-site construction work is due to start in the autumn of 2018.

In a statement the council says: “Due to the essential initial surveys, the Walnut tree by Walnut Bridge, between the Bishop’s Wharf and Billings buildings, will need to be removed now rather than later during construction of the new bridge.”

The Walnut tree next to the bridge entrance, off Walnut Tree Close, that will need to be removed in preliminary work to commence later this month.

Cllr Matt Furniss (Con, Christchurch), deputy leader of the council and lead councillor for infrastructure and governance, says: “We care about all our trees in Guildford, and on this occasion, unfortunately, it is not possible to extract, move and replant the existing tree that will enable the new Walnut Bridge.

Cllr Matt Furniss

“We will plant a replacement tree as close as possible to its current location. The iconic design of the new bridge will act as a focal point for the regeneration of Bedford Wharf, as well as provide improved, wider access for pedestrians and cyclists.

“Moving forward, we are keen to invest money into the planting and aftercare of new trees in appropriate locations around the borough, alongside positive, transformation changes and the regeneration of Guildford town centre.”  

It is intended that the new replacement bridge will enable sustainable travel to the town centre on a key pedestrian and cycle route to and from Guildford Railway Station.

The project is funded by EM3 Local Enterprise Partnership and Guildford Borough Council, and delivered by both GBC and Surrey County Council. It forms part of the Guildford town centre transport package, which consists of a number of schemes to encourage walking and cycling to and through the town centre.

This week, the Department for Communities and Local Government has confirmed the award of £71.1 million to the M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) as the third allocation of “Growth Deal” fund – totalling £219.1 million.

The latest allocation will be used to fund housing, transport, skills development, as well as enterprise and innovation projects across the LEP area.

Rt Hon Anne Milton MP

Guildford MP Anne Milton said: “I am delighted that the Secretary of State has listened and awarded Enterprise M3 these funds. This will have a real impact in our local area, protecting jobs and delivering additional homes.

“I am particularly pleased about the investment that will be made in Guildford, notably the £7.5 million provided for the Slyfield Regeneration Project and the £12.5 million allocated to improve our town centre transport links.

“I have been lobbying for some time along with Guildford Borough Council for infrastructure improvements, and these funds will bring some much-needed results. This is a good start but the A3 and other hotspots also need attention, as does the train capacity into London.”

See also: Walnut Tree Bridge Replacement Will Allow Improved Access To The Town Centre

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test 20 Responses to Walnut Bridge Replacement – Preliminary Work To Start This Month

  1. John Lomas Reply

    February 10, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    When they put the Walnut Bridge in was it a new one or was it the old bridge between the two bus stations moved to a new position?

    If my memory serves, the footbridge that used to exist between Farnham Road and Onslow Street bus stations was of a different, tubular metal, design with part of the frame going over head. Ed

  2. Bernard Parke Reply

    February 10, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    It was a completely new bridge erected as late as 1986.

    It seems strange that it needs replacing so soon.

    • Jim Allen Reply

      February 11, 2017 at 3:36 pm

      Isambard would be turning in his grave at this ‘replacement’ in less than 50 years.

  3. Sara Tokunaga Reply

    February 10, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    In these times of austerity is a new “iconic” bridge really necessary? It seems that GBC is determined to waste council tax payers’ money on as many vanity projects as possible.

    Any sustainable travel between the station and the town is going to be severely disrupted while the functional bridge is being replaced.

    We need true answers to Guildford’s appalling traffic problems not pretty, expensive sticking plasters for pedestrians and cyclists.

    The present bridge is more than adequate for the these users already so long as GBC maintains the ramp, which at times in the past it has seemed loath to do.

  4. Dick Hazelwood Reply

    February 10, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    It seems to be the season for visions. My contribution is the Guildford Monorail.

    If we find a spare billion or so we could make a fine monorail across the valley close to the Walnut Bridge.

    It could start by the Farnham Road (or station) car park up to G Live. With an extended pedestrian zone covering North Street. It would make more sense than some of the competition.

    If anyone has the kit and the skill for animation, we could make a fly through video. Perhaps artwork could show The Guildford Dragon, shuttling back and forth?

    I have more detailed ideas, but this high level valley crossing for walkers and tired cyclists would also allow the “Onslow Street clearway”, to keep traffic moving, whilst being fed from more zone periphery car parking.

  5. Dave Middleton Reply

    February 10, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Sorry, but if the new bridge looks anything like the plans published a few months ago, I think I’d replace the word “iconic” used above, with “hideous”.

  6. Sue Warner Reply

    February 10, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    This is the bridge that nobody wanted – but we get it anyway.

  7. Katie Bangweal Reply

    February 10, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    Absolute waste of money. This £2.7 million could be spent on car driving lessons for local cyclists.

    Cyclists are a menace and the source of countless accidents. The existing narrow bridge encourages them to dismount and behave in a sensible fashion when crossing.

    I fear for everyone’s safety if they start using this bridge as a cut through to the station, to then selfishly fill up packed trains with their greasy bicycles.

  8. Keith Chesterton Reply

    February 10, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    The current bridge is too small and is ugly. I’m delighted it is being replaced by what I think will be beautiful and useful.

    I agree many road users could do with more training and perhaps more importantly, following the lessons they received while learning to drive, learning to be more patient!

    • Jim Allen Reply

      February 12, 2017 at 12:41 pm

      Does it go from side to side of the river? – Yes

      Has it ever sunk through too much weight on it? No

      Can you change its appearance with a coat of paint? – Yes

      So why does it need replacing. I’ve crossed it a few times and never had a problem getting from bank to bank of the river. It serves it purpose.

      GBC claims it’s short of cash, so I simply do not understand why it is being replaced. Better to spend the money on social services.

  9. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    February 10, 2017 at 9:57 pm

    I do not quite see the urgency for this replacement bridge. It would have lined up with the modified entrance to the railway station and the proposed pedestrian route, if Solum’s plan are approved.

    The pedestrian route from the railway station to the town centre is now predominantly through Bridge Street and the council’s aim is to make Bridge Street pedestrian friendly, once the gyratory is replaced by either their plan or by some other plan. So a new Walnut footbridge is strictly not necessary now.

    A “cable-stay” bridge is, in my opinion, not needed for the spans involved. It would be an unnecessary expense just to make it look pretty. I would rather pay more attention in making the bridge fit the historic character of Guildford and make it appropriate for the conservation area. The lighting and parapets on the bridge need attention and detail to make it special.

  10. Susan Kay-Attwood Reply

    February 11, 2017 at 12:13 am

    Anyone know where the plans are for this? I thought the bridge was to be replaced when they decide what to do with the other bits of Guildford, not by itself.

    Why does the tree have to go? Its one of only 2 or 3 walnut trees left on the road. Or are they increasing the width if the bridge too? If the bridge upkeep had actually been done it might not need replacing.

  11. Brian Holt Reply

    February 11, 2017 at 11:30 am

    Its not the motorist who have passed a driving test and are insured, its cyclists who have had no training, no sense of road safety and jump off pavements without looking in front of cars.

    At every Farmers’ Market, when the High Street is closed to traffic and is packed with people, cyclists still weave in and out of pedestrians when they should not even be cycling there. As a car driver I have no problem with sensible cyclists but unfortunately there seem to be more stupid cyclist than good ones.

    Every time a cyclist is involved in an accident with a lorry or bus, its always the driver who they blame.

    I have driven coaches in London and would like to ask all cyclists how is the driver suppose to watch out for traffic signs, watch in several directions simultaneously at junctions and cross roads, look out for pedestrians stepping out and, at the same time, watch the nearside mirror for cyclists passing on the nearside? On top of that the driver is trying to concentrate
    on where he is going and his passengers, especially when carrying children. All this plus watch out for other drivers on the road.

    I now hope people understand what drivers of large vehicles are up against and now cyclists give them room.

  12. Ben Paton Reply

    February 11, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    The existing bridge could be widened for a fraction of the price. So this is just another vanity project for the vanity Executive.

    They will no doubt pose for photos on it. How many council houses would some £4 million buy?

    Nothing like a good folie de grandeur. Spending other people’s money just goes to some people’s heads.

    • Katie Bangweal Reply

      February 13, 2017 at 3:21 pm

      As you asked – £4 million would buy eight council houses if we use the conservative figure of 500k each.

    • Paul Bishop Reply

      February 13, 2017 at 7:01 pm

      Ben Paton is not an engineer is he? I really hope he’s not. You can’t just widen a steel beam bridge. Anything to make the crossing more attractive and easier for Guildford’s visitors to find can only be a good thing.

      I am not sure how short everyone’s memory is here, but it wasn’t long ago that two people were tragically killed walking the very route this bridge is trying to take people away from.

      You may call it a vanity project, I think it’s actually a much needed start to the turnaround of Guildford, focussed around the pedestrians and visitors. Let’s get the pedestrians out the station, across a well placed and welcoming bridge and into the town centre in safety.

  13. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    February 13, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Bridge Street could be reduced to two lanes and the north footway widened. Traffic on the offside lane would go either left or right and the pedestrian crossing signals changed to suit that.

    To counter the effect of closing a lane on Bridge Street, traffic (cars only because of restricted width on Park Street) from Farnham Road Bridge could be allowed to turn right after making the necessary changes to the lanes on that junction. This traffic would then go straight to Portsmouth Road or turn left on to Friary Bridge. On Park Street three northbound lanes would have to be reduced to two, to accommodate this.

    The northernmost lane on Friary Bridge is underused and therefore this contraflow lane would make efficient use of road space.

    The junction on the east end of Friary Bridge would be modified to allow this traffic to turn right into Millbrook.

    I think Surrey County Council should do this first, making Bridge Street safer for pedestrians, before spending money on replacing Walnut Footbridge.

    I would like to direct the readers to my earlier comments on Walnut Tree Close Bridge replacement proposal. Please see the comments under: https://guildford-dragon.com/2015/07/22/walnut-tree-bridge-replacement-will-allow-improved-access-to-the-town-centre/

  14. George Potter Reply

    February 13, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    It’s worth noting that the funding for this is coming from the Local Enterprise Partnership, not the council, and is being provided on a take it or leave it basis.

    So this is basically a question of do we want a new bridge at no cost to local taxpayers or do we not want one. As such I can understand why the council decided to accept the new bridge instead of looking a gift horse in the mouth.

    • Bibhas Neogi Reply

      February 15, 2017 at 9:47 am

      I do not think the Local Enterprise doles out money regardless. The councils have to make a business case for the schemes and in this case the councils have assigned it top priority above making the gyratory flow better and Bridge Street north footway wider and safer for the hundreds of pedestrians that use the route every day.

      I simply do not understand the logic the councils employ when weighing up the merits of their priorities.

  15. Guy Sutlieff Reply

    February 14, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    This is completely baffling. Why do we need a new bridge at all? Just paint this one and repair the ramp on the Odeon side. Job done for about £5k.

    Does having to wheel your bike for about 25 yards really upset cyclists that much, and even if it did I cannot in any way see the financial justification for this.

    Oh, and we loose a lovely mature tree as well.

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