New cycle bridge ‘intrusive’

A bridge too vast for Thurston residents. ANL-141211-231954009
A bridge too vast for Thurston residents. ANL-141211-231954009
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A railway foot and cycle bridge that local residents objected to has been now been criticised by a charity that promotes sustainable travel.

As the Bury Free Press reported in June, residents in Thurston objected to Network Rail’s plans for a stepped and ramped footbridge to replace a pedestrian crossing called Great Barton level crossing in Heath Road.

They felt it was unnecessary on a crossing with a good safety record and one said the bridge would look like ‘a huge industrial fire escape’.

Now the bridge is up it has confirmed residents’ fears and the charity Sustrans’ Suffolk and Norfolk manager Anthony Wright said: “We’ve never had an incident on that crossing in its 14 years as part of the national cycle way.

“We put a proposal in to put a banked crossing in that could have been landscaped.

“This design is intrusive and you’ve got a 200 yard diversion because it has a double zig-zag ramp on each side.

“Obviously we want safe crossings, but they could have made a more user-friendly bridge.”

Network Rail say the bridge is part of a programme which had already seen 700 level crossings across Britain close since 2009, including more than 100 in the east.

A spokesman said Great Barton level crossing had been chosen primarily owing to its frequency of use and because it cuts across a busy rail route.

She added: “There was also a reported near miss with a pedestrian in 2012.”