BRIDGE: Repairs are possible

I write in response to Coun Johnson about the Borough Road bridge.

Saturday, 1st December 2018, 6:06 am

As letters to residents were dated November 9, 2017, but not received on that day, many perhaps did not have time to organise responses. It also concerns me that the consultation events were on one day, December 7, especially as it is a big area with more than 900 households.

The time of year it was rolled out last year, and again this year, near Christmas, may have contributed to the small number of objections received.

Before last year’s consultation we found that the land on the Tennyson Terrace side of the bridge was being offered for development for £90,000. That’s a good price. The garages in Waldo Street were also up for sale.

If housing or business development is afoot, great, but surely the bridge should not be a problem.

At the consultation residents did express concerns. We were told that the proposal to demolish the bridge was just one of those on the table. Also was the option to rebuild or repair it.

When we asked about usage, we were told that in August 2016 a camera was attached for a week, but it had been damaged so the information was not fully gathered.

The feasibility study of January 2018 stated that a four-day study took place in 2015 over the August bank holiday. It showed 652 crossings. That is pretty good, and shows usage of about 152 people a day.

As no other comparisons were attempted how can the report say it has low usage?

When we asked if the council would gain opinion from other people – tourists, ferry users and cyclists – we were told possibly. There appears to be no evidence this has been done.

A fair gathering of information would be to study different times of the year and day, from all visitors and those who work and live in the area.

It may have taken time and money, but would have helped to give a fair table of figures.

When we asked for statistics about anti-social incidents no information was given. We asked if comparisons had been done with other footbridges in residential areas. No information was given.

The feasibility report 2018 showed some comparisons, but included crimes reported in the area of the footbridge, so surrounding streets.

We were told that one of the main causes of structural damage had been repainting without stripping off the old lead paint first.

It had caused rusting, delamination, corrosion, paint loss and general structural damage.

The bridge is about the same age as the Tyne Bridge and part of our engineering heritage. In several documents it states: ‘The iron bridge is an important contributor to the character of the New Quay area.’ It’s funny how this is now so easily dismissed.

The bridge was built in 1936 and replaced the Iron Bridge of the early 1800s. Why not do the same now? Search for tenders from local firms, get designs and build a new bridge.

The cost to demolish is £62,000. To fully refurbish it will cost £290,337. To demolish and replace it is £653,332. If the council can buy a crane for £1m, surely money can be raised to keep the Borough Road Bridge or build a new one.

Maybe the bridge is hindering future developments. Time will tell.

The processes have been done, but it is questionable to only bring this to residents at a time of year when we have busier lives.

Please try to comment, whatever your opinion, and maybe there is a wealthy philanthropist out there to bankroll the bridge’s replacement.

I am sad that after more than 80 years this structure will be no more.

Name and address supplied