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Closing Tennison Road bridge and Spring Lane bridge at the same time is madness
21/06/2014 11:41:00

 
 

On Wednesday, Croydon Council announced that Spring Lane bridge will remain closed for longer than anticipated. It is now planned to reopen the bridge on Monday 28th July.

The bridge is over 120 years old. It is being replaced by a new strengthened bridge which will incorporate a footway for pedestrians. Transport for London, who are carrying out the works, tell me that the principal reason for the delay is ground conditions being less stable than expected, which has meant that the bridge’s foundations have had to be redesigned and that pipes carrying essential BT cabling have had to be re-designed to cross the bridge.

This delay would be bad enough, but to make matters worse the Council hasn’t delayed the planned closure of Tennison Road bridge. For six weeks both bridges are going to be out of action at the same time, leading to massive congestion and misery for local residents.

Cllr Kathy Bee, the new Cabinet Member for Transport and the Environment, says “This has been a bit of a learning curve for everyone involved”, but the Council doesn’t appear to have learnt anything from when it closed both bridges at the same time for two weeks in March.

The work being done on both bridges is important, but couldn’t the Council have delayed the Tennison Road bridge works until Spring Lane bridge was complete as originally planned?

I have raised this question with Council officers. If you have any suggestions as to what else the Council could do to mitigate the impact of these works, let me know.

Comment on this blog

 

Readers' Comments

On 24/06/2014 20:06:00 Paul Ogier wrote:
Did you also let Cllr Kellet know that the plans were "madness" in March this year? Clearly he knew that both bridges would be closed at the same time according to his response to your blog earlier in March (see his response 14/03/2014)

 
On 24/06/2014 20:09:00 Adam Kellett wrote:
I was criticised previously for saying it, but I will say it again: having both bridges shut at the same time is not too disastrous, particularly if like me you live on the north side of the Spring Lane closure.

At present, traffic is finding it so hard to cross the tramlines at Blackhorse Lane that many drivers are taking a much longer diversion via Elmers End or Windmill bridge. When Spring Lane finally reopens traffic will pour over it and have nowhere else to go but up Portland Road. Since Tennison bridge has been shut the queue on Portland has varied between a bit worse than normal and horrendous. Believe me, you haven't seen anything yet!

On a similar theme I had always been told by TfL that the re-routing of the 312 and 130 and the extension of the latter to Thornton Heath would soon follow Spring Lane reopening. I was dismayed to see posters at bus stops saying that they are going out to consultation on the changes. What a ridiculous waste of time and money.

 
On 25/06/2014 02:50:00 John B wrote:
Well Gavin it didn't take you long to start sticking the knife into the newly elected Labour council did it? The previous Conservative administration had ample time to sort out the bridge in Spring Lane. It has been in dire need of repair for several years now, so what was their excuse? Surely they should have been chivying up Transport for London long before they were voted out of office?

I didn't hear you complaining about the inconvenience in March. Maybe that was because at that time Croydon had a Tory administration. I read your article on the Spring Lane bridge closure on the 14th March and there is no criticism of the actions that the council took then. So you appear to be trying to score cheap party political points with the above article.

It is unfortunate that the bridge at Tennison Road is also going to be out of action. However Croydon Council have clearly set out diversionary routes, for both bridges, on their web site. They have also posted a very useful link to the Network Rail website, which explains why the (Tennison Rd) bridge is being is being strengthened. But I see you have neglected to put that information into your article.

While congestion is regrettable, I’d rather see both bridges repaired and improved as quickly as possible so that they are back in action sooner rather than later. Croydon isn't going to grind to a halt because two bridges are currently out of action. “Massive congestion and misery” is a bit of a strong statement to make. I live in the area and there has always been congestion at peak travelling times. We are used to it in the north of the borough. Think of how bad it gets when Crystal Palace play at Selhurst Park!

So come on. The new council has not had its feet under the table for 5 minutes and no doubt some issues have proved to be a bit of a learning curve for those involved. But at least they seem to be getting things done and it is high time we saw some improvements to the transport infrastructure in the north of the borough. The Spring Lane Bridge needed significant repairs for several years on the Conservatives watch. I’m just glad to see that the end is in sight and that bridge will open up shortly.

As for Tennison Road, as the Network Rail site says, “replacing the bridge with a wider, stronger and more resilient structure will result in added benefits to the local community. These benefits include, improved lighting, wider and safer foot-ways and improved safety for cyclists through wider carriageways”. Despite the inconvenience, who can argue with that?

 
On 25/06/2014 08:03:00 Gavin Barwell wrote:
Adam

Certainly agree with your last point.

Paul/John

I've obviously touched a raw nerve.

To answer your questions/respond to your comments:

The Conservative Council did press TfL to repair Spring Lane Bridge sooner. The delay, which has got us into this mess where works on the two bridges are going on at the same time, was caused by a legal wrangle between TfL and Network Rail about who owned the bridge.

I did criticise the Council back in March for closing both bridges at the same time for two weeks. I have been open about the fact that this happened in my latest post.

And I agree that both bridges need replacing - the argument is solely about whether they should be done at the same time.

 
 

 

 

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