Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Toll bridge must close again for road widening

WHITCHURCH toll bridge will have to shut if its southern approach road from Pangbourne is widened, according to a report.

WHITCHURCH toll bridge will have to shut if its southern approach road from Pangbourne is widened, according to a report.

The company which owns the structure is considering carrying out the work because the carriageway and adjoining pavement are narrower than the minimum width recommended by the Department for Transport.

Guidelines say the access road should be no less than 5.2m wide and ideally 5.5m, while the footway should be at least 1.5m. However, the former is 4.7m wide at its narrowest while the pavement is only 0.9m wide in places.

The bridge company’s consultant Peter Brett Associates says this could be tackled by widening the highway to the east by the Adventure Dolphin Centre, to the west by the Boathouse doctors’ surgery or by installing chicanes on either side. All three would require the road to shut but the report recommends the third option as the closure would be shorter. It does not specify timescales.

The company has asked Whitchurch Parish Council for its views and will decide its next steps at a board meeting in February. Secretary Geoff Weir said the work was unlikely to start before 2018.

He said: “It’s too soon to go into detail but we hope most of the work can be done while keeping the road open. It’s in everyone’s interests, including our own, to close it for as short a time as possible.”

The Grade II listed bridge was shut in September 2013 while the entire 112-year-old structure was dismantled, reinforced and rebuilt to cope with modern traffic flows. This was meant to take seven months but in fact took a year after being delayed by flooding.



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