Details of Mill Road bridge closure plan to be revealed
The closure of Mill Road bridge is set to move a step closer next week with the advertisement of a Traffic Regulation Order.
The move follows a consultation by the Greater Cambridge Partnership, which found support for re-introducing a restriction on the bridge.
The TRO will be advertised on Monday, November 28 until midnight on Friday, January 6.
Cllr Alex Beckett, chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s highways and transport committee, said: “We have been working hard on the next steps for Mill Road and we have come up with a clear list of exemptions for people to consider. We know any scheme we bring forward will lead to strong opinions, but we want to continue to hear feedback from those affected.”
The bridge was closed to private vehicles from June 2020 to early August 2021 by Cambridgeshire County Council to help people walking and cycling to maintain social distance amid the pandemic.
Businesses claimed to be badly affected and fears were raised that people with disabilities were being forced to take longer routes. However, many cyclists and pedestrians welcomed the reduction in traffic and air pollution.
The county’s highways and transport committee asked the GCP to review and consult on options for Mill Road going forward after the order was removed.
The consultation, which included focus groups of key stakeholders and two public workshops, found 72 per cent of survey respondents supported “restricting motor vehicles from crossing Mill Road bridge” while 70 per cent backed “possible allowances for buses, taxis and drivers with disabilities and/or mobility needs”
After reviewing the consultation, the committee agreed to work on a TRO to reinstate the modal filter on Mill Road, but with exemptions. The TRO will state that buses, cyclists, emergency services, taxis and blue badge holders will be exempt.
The county council says all feedback on the TRO, including objections, is welcome.
Cllr Neil Shailer, vice-chair of the highways and transport committee, said: “Mill Road is a vibrant part of Cambridge, our community includes residents, businesses, and users of the road and we are passionate about making a positive difference.
“We want to enable Mill Road to be a more enjoyable place to visit, delivering better air quality and space. I’d encourage everyone to have their say and let us know their comments.”
All responses to the TRO will be collated, with the aim of them being presented to the highways and transport committee on March 7, 2023.
Members will discuss the responses, the report and decide whether the Mill Road bridge closure should be reinstated or not.
If agreed, a bus gate will be implemented and blue badge holders will need to register via an application form online. Blue badge holders will be required to provide relevant details such as name, address, blue badge number and appropriate paperwork. They will also be able to register two vehicles.
More details about this TRO and how people can submit their objections, or any other comments is available on the council’s website.
There was also a wish to see the environment enhanced along Mill Road including improvements to the public realm and walking and cycling provision. The public realm changes would be made in collaboration with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority and GCP. It is anticipated design work will begin in 2023.