Every Cloud… : Making the Most of the Bridge Closure

Could there be a silver lining to the closure of Mill Road Bridge to motor vehicles in 2019?

The idea of reducing the amount of motor vehicle traffic on Mill Road has been much discussed in recent years.  Benefits could include reduced pollution, safer cycling and walking, more reliable bus services and a more pleasant environment in which to live, work and shop.  But we’re all conscious of the potential downsides – eg the impact on traffic in surrounding roads, the inconvenience for private motorists in particular for disabled drivers and the elderly, and logistical problems for bulk deliveries to the shops and business on Mill Road.  The financial cost (or benefit) of reduced traffic on local shops and businesses is also unclear.

So given that the bridge has to be closed to vehicles for at least 8 weeks in 2019, there’s clearly an opportunity to better understand the impact of reducing traffic on this key Cambridge thoroughfare. For example

  • measuring the traffic volumes in surrounding roads
  • gathering information about the financial effect on Mill Road shops and businesses
  • surveying local residents on how they are coping with the restrictions in place

We’ll be starting conversations with Cambridge Cycling Campaign (Camcycle),  local councillors, Mill Road businesses and the Cambridge Area Bus Users Group to progress these ideas.

Camcycle have produced this vision of a Mill Road with fewer cars.  Improvements to the Mill Road streetscape that become practical with fewer cars around could be trialled during the closure.

But what do you think?  Please do contact us and let us know your views.

GTR promises temporary footbridge during bridge closure

***See press release today 18 December from Govia Thameslink (GTR)***

GTR is responsible for the work on Mill Road Bridge next year.  They will need to close Mill Road Bridge to motor vehicles to allow the work to be carried out.

We’ll continue to work with Mill Road traders, residents, the Cambridge Area Bus Users group, GTR, Spencer Group, and local councillors to make sure that the impacts of Bridge closure are minimised.

We’re getting there 🙂

Councillors meet with Govia: Update

Govia Thameslink met with Romsey and Petersfield councillors on 5th December to hear their views on the closure.  Govia’s have now provided their write-up of that session, which is linked here.

As our previous post, we still await more detail.  In particular, we know that pedestrian access across the Bridge will only be available for some of the closure period.  But for how long and when will the Bridge be completely closed?

Govia confirm that they are the lead contractor for the work, with the Spencer Engineering group reporting in to them.

A follow-up meeting with councillors has been promised for February 2019.  Meantime please sign and share the petition!

Mixed messages…

Our supporters have provided more feedback on the drop-in on Tuesday.  The Spencer Group need to be clearer on two points:

  • Can Spencer Group change the timing of the closure to July / August 2019? There should be less impact at this time both to residents (eg school runs) and businesses.  We understand that “yes”, and “not sure” were both given as answers to that question.
  • Spencer Group are considering two possible temporary bridge designs.  Does either provide 24×7 pedestrian access over the duration of the work?  We heard “no”, and “yes” for one of the designs.

Spencer Group need to work to find a way to make 24×7 pedestrian access possible during a bridge closure that happens in July / August 2019.

Progress.. but we’re not there yet!

OMRB is just back from the Govia / Spencer Engineering’s drop-in at the Earl of Beaconsfield.

Good news: they’re talking about maintaining pedestrian access for the majority of the period of the works, and changing the timing to the summer holidays when any periods of complete closure will have less impact, eg on school runs.

But we don’t have anything definitive on the periods when the bridge will be completely closed, and need confirmation on the rescheduling of the works to summer 2019.

There will be a further public briefing in January 2019 at which Over Mill Road Bridge will be expecting clarity on these outstanding questions.  In the meantime, if you haven’t done so then please sign the petition!

 

Govia’s Drop-In re the Closure

Govia Thameslink have organised 3 public drop in sessions on Tuesday the 27th November at the Earl of Beaconsfield 133 Mill Road, Cambridge CB1 3AA.

Please do come along to ensure Govia understand the strength of local feeling.

The sessions will run from 11:00 – 13:00, 14:00-16:00, and 17:00-19:00.  Go through the pub to the Billiard Room / Swap Library at the rear. Step free access is available through the side gate on Gt Eastern Street, and the landlady will open that on request.

See poster from Govia Thameslink, they may be listening, but it is unclear what “planned periods of pedestrian access” will mean in practice…

Progress Update

We’re demanding that pedestrian access is maintained over the 2 months that Mill Road Bridge will be closed in 2019.  It’s Day 5 of the campaign and we’ve got 370 signatures on our petition.  And they’re still coming in.

We need more though – please use the social media links at the bottom of this post.  Or email the link to the petition to your friends and family that are going to be affected.

Sophie Barnett one of our Romsey City Councillors has invited Network Rail to a meeting with Romsey and Petersfield Councillors.  She is waiting for a response.  The Councillors will want to ask how Network Rail and Govia Thameslink can address resident and business concerns about the impact of the Bridge closure.

Noel Kavanagh, Cambs County Councillor for Romsey, has asked about the process Network Rail will follow to get permission to close the Bridge.  They will need to apply for a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO).  Cambs County Council will publicise the Order, but there is no public consultation.  So there is no direct consideration of public objections to the closure.  We’ve asked Noel if he can find out how Cambs County Council will assess the TTRO application.  We’re assuming the application will need to meet some criteria – what are they?

Campaigning against the Closure – 150 signatures and counting :)

We collected 75 signatures in a couple of hours outside the Co-op on Mill Road yesterday.  And about the same number have come in through this website, so we’re really building some momentum already 🙂

Lots of people we talked had no idea that the bridge was closing, and almost no-one knew that Network Rail and Govia Thameslink were planning to close it to pedestrians.

Let’s ask friends and neighbours whether this sounds sensible to them, and to sign the petition!

And please use the buttons below to spead the news on Facebook / Twitter…