Mill Road bridge closure delayed by legal challenge
The Mill Road bridge bus gate in Cambridge will not be introduced until the legal challenge against the plans has been resolved, it has been confirmed.
The campaign group the Friends of Mill Road Bridge launched a legal challenge against the closure, arguing people need to be able to drive across the bridge, as the Cambridge Independent has reported.
The bridge is due to be closed for two weeks from September 25 to October 6 to allow for roadworks to take place.
Cambridgeshire County Council has said these works will not include the infrastructure needed to implement the actual bus gate.
Councillors voted in favour of plans in March this year to restrict who can cross Mill Road bridge. Under the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO), private cars and other motor vehicles will be banned from crossing or face fines, while buses, cyclists, emergency services, taxis and Blue Badge holders will still be able to use it.
Drivers who are not exempt could face fines for travelling through the bus gate, which is expected to be enforced by automatic number plate recognition cameras.
The Friends of Mill Road Bridge said it wants to see the TRO “quashed entirely”. On its fundraising page, the group said: “Too many residents, workers and traders all across the county need to be able to drive over the bridge without incurring fines. Train station, hospital visits, the list of local needs filled quickly by bridge access is infinite.
“Rerouting drivers to Coldham’s Lane or Hills Road will only displace traffic and snarl up traffic nearby.”
The group has been fundraising the money needed for its legal fees and has so far raised more than £4,300.
A county council spokesperson said: “We have received a legal challenge regarding the Mill Road Bridge decision. We have responded to the claim and are waiting for the court to determine the outcome of the challenge.
“In the meantime, we will be implementing some traffic calming on Mill Road – this will include installing a central traffic island and kerb realignment between Devonshire Road and Headly Street, as well as white lining and cycle symbols on the bridge.”
The work is due to start by the end of September and more details will follow.
The campaign group Mill Road for People has said it is “disappointed” at the potential delay to the new bus gate, and urged the county council to “respect the democratic mandate and stick to the agreed plan”.