Mill Road bridge closure in Cambridge ‘to be debated after six months’
Councillors will get to have their say on the closure of Mill Road bridge to motor vehicles - but not before a six-month consultation period is up.
Cambridgeshire County Council has confirmed to the Cambridge Independent the process of assessing feedback to the closure, which has prompted fierce debate in the community.
Enforcement cameras became active on the bridge from Wednesday August 12, which means that drivers of any cars, vans or lorries who ignore the warning signs and cross the bridge face a £60 fine - reduced to £30 if paid within two weeks.
Those travelling by bus, bike or on foot can still use the bridge under the terms of the experimental traffic regulation order (ETRO), which was brought in swiftly by the county council among a raft of ‘active travel schemes’ to aid social distancing and promote greener travel.
While pedestrians and cyclists - including Camcycle - have welcomed the move, and many have pointed to the benefits of cleaner air from reducing congestion, there were concerns at the lack of usual debate prior to the order’s introduction, and members of the Mill Road Traders’ Association have vociferously protested against the closure, calling it “devastating” for their businesses.
Their hopes of a swift reversal of the closure have been dashed, but they can look forward to the closure being debated by councillors once the six-month consultation on the order is complete.
A Cambridgeshire County Council spokesperson said: “We are taking all feedback received on board and will continue to monitor the effect of the changes on Mill Road.
“It’s important to note that the changes are being made under an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO).
“The use of this type of order allows for changes to be put in place quickly and for engagement with local people to run alongside these experimental measures – necessary in these times when dealing with coronavirus.
“Orders can last up to 18 months and changes are subject to a six-month consultation period.
“We are still very much in that consultation stage, therefore no changes will be made before that six-month period.
“All comments will be reviewed to see what changes, if any, could be made from six months, at which point all of the active travel schemes across the county, including Mill Road, will be taken back to the highways and transport committee before any decisions are made.”
The spokesperson added: “We have received a range of opinions on the new road layout on Mill Road – with some locals in favour of the changes and others against.”
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