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Safety improvements scheme at Norwood Road bridge in March is set to start next week



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A long awaited scheme to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety at Norwood Road Bridge in March started on Monday (July 23).

Work is at least due to start on Norwood Road bridge to help improve pedestrian and cyclists' safety. (3144998)
Work is at least due to start on Norwood Road bridge to help improve pedestrian and cyclists' safety. (3144998)

Cambridgeshire County Council begins a 14 week project to build a new footpath and cycleway in Norwood Road, after a campaign by local member and Cambridgeshire County Council leader Steve Count saw the successful purchase of land from Network Rail, and funding agreed for the design to build a new footpath and cycleway over the railway bridge.

Work to improve safety at Norwood Road bridge is set to start on Monday. (3145173)
Work to improve safety at Norwood Road bridge is set to start on Monday. (3145173)

Because the bridge is so narrow the work will be carried out in two phases. The first phase – due to last six weeks - will have only minimal impact on the road with the occasional temporary traffic lights.

This work will be Monday to Friday between 8am and 5pm, with occasional weekend working.

As work progresses, the second phase will require the road to be closed, and this is likely to be from September 3 but will depend on the weather and how the work progresses. Advanced warning signs will be displayed at least two weeks before the road closure and letters will be sent to very local residents.

Local people have known for decades the Norwood Road Bridge in March has presented an extremely dangerous situation to pedestrians due to the absence of a footpath on a narrow, steep, blind corner.

The agreed solution of all interested parties is the installation of a dual use cycleway/footpath and traffic light system before the bridge.

The announcement of the date is a culmination of a seven year campaign by Coun Count, which involved getting wasteland running alongside the bridge transferred to the ownership of the county council, securing funding for both a feasibility study and then £230,000 of project funding, plus the development of an agreed design for the work.

“I am delighted that work will finally begin next week on a scheme that has been so eagerly awaited by local people,” said Coun Count.

“Their patience has been rewarded with the start date this week now confirmed. The benefit of this new footpath and cycleway on the safety of this area cannot be underestimated which is why I have pressed for it to happen for so long.”

Timeline

Councillor Steve Count – in his role at the time of both a town councillor and Fenland District councillor - began work in 2011 to secure the ownership of the very small strip of wasteland which runs alongside the bridge, securing funds and getting an approved design drawn up to solve this situation.

Key dates

Between 2011 – 2014 considerable work undertaken to identify the exact owner of the land, believed first to be Network Rail, although subsequently discovered to be a charity called ‘Railway Paths’

2013 – funding secured by Coun Count for a feasibility study for the safety work

2014/15 –project funding for the dual use cycleway/footpath agreed by CCC

2016 – ownership of land transferred back to Network Rail from Railway Paths

2017 – pressure continues from CCC to agree transfer of land from NR to CCC and for agreement for cycleway/footpath design.

2018 – deadlock on ownership transfer and significant delays on an agreed design are escalated by Coun Count via Gillian Beasley to NWR chief executive Mark Carne

2018 - Network Rail’s Route Managing Director, Meliha Duymaz works with Graham Hughes, CCC’s Executive Director for Place and Economy to unblock final legal and design issues

April 2018 – legal title of land is transferred to CCC, and design is agreed.

July 23 2018 – work due to start.

End of October – anticipated completion.



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