Friday, 25 June 2021

Toll bridge speed limit may be cut to 20mph

THE speed limit on Whitchurch toll bridge could be reduced to 20mph.

The Whitchurch Bridge Company wants to improve safety at the crossing’s southern approach in Pangbourne and is to seek permission from West Berkshire Council, the highways authority, to downgrade it from a 30mph limit.

The council’s officers do not object in principle so the change could be implemented by the autumn.

The company wants to eventually widen the approach road from 4.7m at its narrowest to 5.2m, making it the same width as the carriageway on the bridge itself, and to widen the pavement from 1m to 1.5m and install new railings and signage.

This was expected to happen this year but is now unlikely to start before 2020 as Peter Brett Associates, the bridge company’s engineer, says the project would cost more than originally expected.

A proposal to divert the pavement on the approach road through a wooded area on the southern bank of the Thames was also considered but ruled out as it would have driven costs up even further.

The work would probably require a brief closure of the bridge, although it might be possible to keep a single lane open.

This would be the first time it shut since September 2013, when it was closed for 12 months while the structure was dismantled and refurbished to cope with modern traffic levels.

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