Rail operator responds to residents’ concerns
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has reduced the length of time its contractors will have to close Mill Road Bridge in Cambridge to pedestrians, in response to feedback.
By challenging themselves and their contractor, they have reduced the number of days from 14 to a maximum of eight, possibly six, days over four, possibly only three, separate periods.
The bridge will, however, remain closed to vehicles for the full 56-day period, from 1 July to 25 August inclusive, with diversions in place.
Project manager Bethany Martinson said: “We understand the impact the bridge closure will have on the community and in the light of feedback received, we challenged our contractor to find ways to reduce the number of days that the bridge will be closed to pedestrians.
“The way we’re providing pedestrian access now is much better than the original solution of a scaffolded bridge, which proved impossible. We care very much about the community around Mill Road and have been doing everything we can to minimise the effect of this vital work.”
Transport and community arrangements
GTR has worked with Stagecoach to operate a regular shuttle service for the duration of the road closure, from the bridge to key exchange points for onward connections.
GTR also previously agreed to fund the free use of Cambridge Dial-a-Ride’s door-to-door scheme for residents who would find it difficult to use the revised public transport provisions.
GTR has previously allocated £15,000 to support local events during the eight-week closure being organised by councillors and community groups in each of Petersfield and Romsey council wards.
Working with local councillors, GTR has also previously committed to make four panels available on Mill Road Bridge after the work is complete for local schools to display their artwork.
Separately, GTR and its contractors arranged a visit to Saint Matthews school to talk about site safety; the school then entered into a site safety poster competition and the winning posters will be displayed on the bridge hoardings.
Ms Martinson added: “We have worked closely with the community to limit the impact of this work.”
The footpath on the bridge will be closed on the following dates:
5th & 6th July 2019 08:45 – 20:45
11th & 12th July 2019 08:45 – 20:45
28th & 29th July 2019 08:45 – 20:45
3rd & 4th August 2019 08:45 – 20:45
A £30 million expansion of the railway depot requires modification of one of the bridge’s arches to make space for an additional rail track to run underneath.
The upgrade is part of the government-sponsored £7 billion Thameslink Programme, to increase the number of Thameslink services to and from the City from as far afield as Brighton and Gatwick Airport, boosting the local economy.
For structural reasons that became apparent only during the final design stage, a scaffolded footbridge cannot be built that would be wide enough for wheelchairs or mobility scooters and for people passing one another safely with bikes, prams or buggies.
However, GTR’s contractors have found a way to maintain pedestrian access across the railway by building the bridge in two halves and keeping one of the pavements open on each side at any one time.
There were always going to be occasions when the footbridge would have had to close for safety reasons, even with the original footbridge design.
For more detailed information and the full timetable please visit the Stagecoach website: www.stagecoachbus.com/promos-and-offers/east/mill-road-closure