Saturday, October 09, 2010

New K&A Canal footbridge for Hungerford High Street

Local people are concerned about
the size of vehicles using Hungerford 
Bridge and the narrow pedestrian footpath
By Bob Naylor

The aims of campaigners for a safe pedestrian crossing over the Kennet & Avon Canal in Hungerford High Street will be realised when a new footbridge is built next to the road bridge early next year.

A lengthy consultation that included canal users and Hungerford residents considered a number of possible options, which included traffic lights, a pedestrian swing bridge over the canal and a high level footbridge on the west side of the road bridge.

There was very little support from either pedestrians or drivers for traffic lights and the planners did not favour the swing bridge because their research showed that during the boating season it would be open for boaters and closed to pedestrians for most of the day. Local residents were also against it fearing noise from barriers and claxtons and boaters were not in favour of yet another interuption to navigation and the possibility of conflict with pedestrians delayed by bridge operation.

The design of the bridge submitted for planning approval took account of local concerns and has 
been described as 'sensitive and elegant'

The high level footbridge was supported by most people and after three public meetings and a three-week display in Hungerford Library a final design was produced by Turley Associates, which incorporated many of the ideas of people who took part in the consultation. The designers have been complimented on a "sensitive and elegant structure that the town could be proud of".

The canal bridge in Hungerford High Street — there were some concerns about the visual impact of a 
footbridge on this, the western side of the bridge.

West Berks Council have allocated £300, 000 for the project and the final plans have been submitted with a decision expected next month.  The steelwork will take about 30 weeks to complete and construction work will begin in April next year.

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