Mill Road Bridge to stay open to pedestrians during rail works
Following an outcry from residents and traders, a temporary footbridge will be installed during the planned closure of a city centre road bridge next year.
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has promised to instal the footbridge to allow pedestrian access between the areas of Romsey and Petersfield when Mill Road Bridge is closed for railway works beneath it in 2019.
And following weeks of protest from traders on Mill Road worried the closure would discourage shoppers, GTR has agreed to move the works from springtime to July and August, when many residents are on holiday, to lessen the impact on businesses.
A £30 million expansion of the railway depot requires modification of one of the bridge’s arches to allow an additional rail track to run underneath where trains can be serviced and washed.
The upgrade, part of the government-sponsored £7billion Thameslink Programme, will help increase the number of Thameslink services to and from the city from as far afield as Brighton and Gatwick Airport.
After residents expressed concern about the original plan to cut off all access to the bridge for eight weeks in spring 2019, GTR held a public meeting and three further drop-in sessions to listen to concerns.
Kevin Parker, from GTR, said: “We will now install a footbridge for both pedestrians and cyclists to use during the work. There will still be occasions when we have to close this bridge for safety because of cranes moving overhead, but we will keep this to a minimum.
“We are also moving the work to July and August as people suggested, although the dates have yet to be finalised.”
Cllr Kevin Blencowe of Petersfield ward said: “I’m glad they have acknowledged residents’ concerns. It would have been totally unacceptable for the bridge to be closed to pedestrians for eight weeks.”
Traders' Association Ambassador Piero D'Angelico, said: "We are still in talks with Govia Thameslink about whether the footbridge can become permanent, as a legacy project. That would mean something good may yet come out of this disruption."