Lincoln, Footbridge project gets underway

14 Oct

displaymedia.ashxKarl McCartney, Lincoln’s MP and Network Rail’s Route Managing Director, Phil Verster, officially launched the project to build a footbridge over the level crossing on Lincoln High Street on October 10th, 2014.

The project, which includes re-modelling the property at 179 High Street, will mean pedestrians and cyclists can cross the railway 24-hours-a-day, and there will be no need to wait at the level crossing barriers. The re-modelling work will see a lift provided at each side of the bridge, capable of carrying mobility scooters and pushchairs. 179 High Street will also be further redeveloped for reuse after the bridge is constructed.

Phil Verster, route managing director for Network Rail, said: “The start of work on the High Street bridge is the result of many months of collaborative working. I thank the teams from English Heritage, City of Lincoln, Lincolnshire County Council, University of Lincoln, business leaders and Karl McCartney MP for the support and guidance they have provided.

“Residents, visitors and businesses in Lincoln will benefit from the new footbridge. It will improve safety and mean far less people will have to wait to cross the railway.

“High Street and Brayford level crossings remain among our worst crossings for instances of misuse. Incidents range from people running across after the warnings have started to thoroughly reckless acts such as lifting or climbing over the barriers once they are down. In such circumstances the signaller has no way to stop an oncoming train.

“We understand that a lot of misuse is driven by frustration at having to wait at the barriers. We have accepted that it is not possible to close the crossings at this time but doing nothing was not an option. Thanks to the close working with city stakeholders we have developed high quality, deliverable solutions for each site.”

Karl McCartney MP added: “I am very pleased that work on the new footbridge over Lincoln High Street’s level crossing has finally started. Today’s event is definitely a positive step forward as we work to address the disruption and risk to the public posed by these level crossings that cut the City I represent in half.”

Cllr Ric Metcalfe, Leader of City of Lincoln Council, said: “We have lobbied long and hard with our partners for this new footbridge, which will be hugely welcomed in helping us resolve the effect of the severing the High Street by the rail corridor.

“It will have both important safety gains and will support our city centre regeneration aspirations.”

Richard Davies, Executive Councillor for Highways and Transport at the county council, said: “This footbridge will be a welcome addition to Lincoln’s High Street, making it easier for residents, visitors and students to access all of our fantastic attractions and shops. Local people have been asking for a solution for this junction for a long time and we are pleased to see these plans come to fruition.”

Network Rail took ownership of 179 High Street in late September 2014; and today’s event was a key milestone in the project. The bridge is set to open in October 2015. A second footbridge is also being planned for Brayford Wharf East.

Both of the level crossings – at High Street and Brayford Wharf East – in Lincoln are of the highest possible safety design, yet record such significant levels of misuse that they are ranked first and third on the risk register for Network Rail’s east coast and east midlands route.

Both footbridge bridge projects are complex; Brayford Wharf East because of the proximity to Brayford Pool, and High Street because of the narrow nature of the street. Both are also important sites to English Heritage in terms of visual lines to the Cathedral, and also High Street itself, which is one of the longest Roman Roads in the country.

Network Rail has sought advice from Lincolnshire County Council, City of Lincoln Council, English Heritage, University of Lincoln, the Brayford Trust, Lincoln business groups and local residents as part of the design and development of the two footbridges.

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