Bridge to replace safety hotspot level crossing at Ash
Plans to replace the level crossing at Ash station with a new road bridge and footbridge were further progressed at meeting of the Executive last night (19 March).
The Executive agreed to approve the overall capital scheme cost of £22.8 million (to be fully funded by grants and developer contributions) and to move the project from planning permission stage to the pre-construction stage which includes detailed design. Planning application for the road bridge will be submitted in Spring 2019 with construction to start in Spring 2020 and complete in 2021.
The current level crossing has been identified by Network Rail as being a safety hotspot. The road bridge will benefit residents and those travelling in the area by providing a safe place to cross and significantly reduce existing congestion and over-use of residential and rural roads to avoid the level crossing. It serves as a key piece of infrastructure in alleviating traffic from current redevelopments and future regeneration from the emerging Local Plan.
A separate dedicated footbridge for pedestrians and cyclists is planned to follow the construction of the road bridge. Pedestrians and cyclists can also use the new road bridge and the current crossing will remain open until the foot bridge is constructed.
Leader of the Council and Lead Councillor for Planning and Regeneration, Cllr Paul Spooner says: "I'm very pleased we are moving forward with this important infrastructure project. I would like to thank residents for their contributions to date and for attending the information events. Further opportunities for participation and feedback will follow as we progress through the planning process. The new road bridge - and planned footbridge - support our plans to regenerate the area with further new housing while removing the safety hazard of the level crossing and easing traffic congestion."
Lead Councillor for Governance and Infrastructure, Cllr Matt Furniss says: "Last night's decision is brilliant news. The crossing is currently down 150 times each day or eight times an hour for up to 25 minutes each hour, which has huge impact on local traffic. The new road bridge will not only make it safer to cross the North Downs Line but ease the congestion for current and future residents and those travelling through the area."
He adds: "The new bridge will connect the Guildford Road / Ash Hill Road roundabout to a new junction with Foreman Road. Later when the road bridge is in place we plan to add a separate footbridge and until that is in place, the level crossing will remain open. Pedestrians and cyclists can also use the road bridge."
At a recent public information event comments included:
"Long overdue well done!"
"The project plans are first class and will sort out the traffic jams early morning and evenings. At present it's a total nightmare. The sooner the better."
"Great idea. We've needed this for a long time."
"I have seen the proposals and listened to the explanation. I am happy that the bridge will relieve congestion, the pedestrian access to the station will be maintained, the access to the station car park will be maintained, the development process will prevent disruption."
Published on Wednesday 20 March.