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Stones Road footbridge replacement - DEFERRED

January 2, 2009 9:00 AM
Stones Road footbridge and subway

The bridge was built to replace the subway, which was prone to flooding

An official notice was due to be published on January 7th stating that the footpath including the footbridge connecting Blenheim Road and Stones Road was to be closed temporarily for maintenance sometime within the next 6 months. However this has now been deferred until later in the year.

The reason the closure is needed is that the footbridge has reached the end of its useful life and will have to be demolished. A new bridge would have to have access ramps for disabled people and bicycles, which would be impractical, so the plan is to replace it by re-opening the old subway or "tunnel" under the railway.

Work has already been done on strengthening the subway a couple of years ago, but it needs a walking surface added. The footpaths leading to it were due to be resurfaced at the same time and the scheme should resolve a problem with the bridge lights which failed two or three years ago.

An alternative route is to be signposted via Miles Road, Hook Road, East Street and Victoria Place - and there is also another alternative footbridge from Blenheim Road to West Street.

There were no precise details for the start date or how long the work will take, which will depend on when SCC can get possession of the tracks, but at a recent Local Committee meeting County Cllr Colin Taylor was told it was hoped to do the work by April. Clearly this will not now happen.

No reason for the deferral has been given so far, but it is known that the county council is having to make cut-backs on all non-essential work, due to the downturn in the economy.

Residents of the area will remember the efforts put in by local Lib Dems earlier in the year, when the state of the bridge, the nearby allotments, fly-tipping and problems emanating from the travellers' site were the subject of a Public Meeting. There has been slow progress in addressing some of the issues, despite assurances given by both councils.

Some work has been done on the travellers site, but the promise of an improved boundary fence to the allotments has not yet been effective. Progress reports being asked for on a regular basis by Cllr Alison Kelly (Lib Dem, Town) and County Cllr Colin Taylor (Lib Dem, Epsom & Ewell South-West).

Now the situation with regard to the "tunnel" appears to be on a "go slow" as well.