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keymer tiles housing development 'Life-Expired' Bumpy Bridge Replacement Halted As Structure Is Now Deemed Safe

5th December 2016
By Peter Chapman

Thousands of pounds of tax-payers money has been wasted as plans to replace the life-expired 'Bumpy Bridge' between St Wilfrids Road and Junction Road has sensationally been cancelled mid-project.

The Keymer Junction footbridge has now been declared safe by Network Rail.

There had been plans for West Sussex County Council to replace the bumpy bridge for many years, with money finally secured to carry out the project.

The need to replace the bridge came about not just because of safety issues, but because Network Rail had a plans to widen the line and would be demolishing the bridge which they themselves own.

West Sussex County Council needed to construct their own footbridge in order to keep open the link between St Wilfrids Road and Junction Road.

The recent minutes from the Burgess Hill Town Council Strategic Development Key Area Group revealed:

Replacement pedestrian/cycle bridge (Bumpy Bridge)
The Chairman advised the replacement pedestrian/cycle bridge over the railway between St Wilfrid’s Road and Cants Lane was not going ahead.

Network Rail had confirmed the existing bridge was safe and the future infrastructure plans for the line were not proceeding.

The S106 funds allocated to this project would therefore become available for other sustainable transport projects.

It comes as a surprise that the bridge has now been declared safe. West Sussex County Council's report as to the condition of the bridge was very clear and of what needed to be done:

Keymer Junction Footbridge - Planning Application
The current condition of the bridge is poor, with significant cracking and movement of the spandrel walls, separation of the arch rings, cracking, spalling and mortar loss to the parapet walls, and evidence of outward movement of the wingwalls.

While repair of these defects would be feasible, the conclusions of the 2010 & 2013 Feasibility Studies are accepted by all parties that repairs would only be a temporary measure, and that the structure is effectively life-expired.

Once planning permission was granted in January 2015, extensive clearance works took place early in the spring (ahead of the nesting season), with the actual replacement of the bridge penciled in for early 2016.

The size of the Junction Road allotments was reduced to allow for the new footpath and bridge. Some long-standing holders were needlessly paid compensation by Burgess Hill Town Council to leave their plots.

The new footbridge would have seen the footpath widened from 2.5 metres to 3 metres with improved lighting for the benefit of cyclists.

The plans for the new bridge which would have seen it constructed 10 metres south of the existing footbridge.

The announcement of a new bridge was widely welcomed by local residents who had many complaints about the existing one including safety concerns when crossing at night.

However, some residents raised objections during the consultation period, wanting the new bridge to be opened up as part of the public highway like it was up until around 1980.

The bumpy bridge as it stands today.

Questions must now be asked of West Sussex County Council as to the previous report that indicated that the bridge was unsafe and needed replacing.

The cost of beginning the project, the safety report, the planners, architects, technical drawings, the clearance works, compensation to allotment holders all add up.

Did they pay for bad information?

Spread the word, public money has been wasted on starting a project that apparently didn't need doing

Got an opinion on this story? Leave a comment below.....
What are your thoughts on the council cancelling the project to replace the Bumpy Bridge?

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