Dismay as plans to replace Peterborough’s Rhubarb Bridge are revealed

Residents and councillors view the plans at the Salvation Army Citadel
Residents and councillors view the plans at the Salvation Army Citadel

Safety concerns have been raised after the replacement for Rhubarb Bridge in Peterborough was revealed for the first time on Wednesday, 9 August.

Plans unveiled by Peterborough City Council showed a series of Toucan crossings will be installed at the roundabout separating Lincoln Road (by Brotherhood Retail Park) and Bourges Boulevard, including on the A47 slip roads, with extra lanes put in for motorists.

The plans to replace Rhubarb Bridge. The proposed new crossings are in light blue

The plans to replace Rhubarb Bridge. The proposed new crossings are in light blue

However, Matthew Barber, head of partnerships (Midlands and East) at sustainable transport charity Sustrans, believes pedestrians and cyclists might try to jump the crossings before the green man is showing due to long waiting times.

He said: “Rhubarb Bridge is a gateway to the north of the city. But going from Marks And Spencer in Brotherhoods to PC World on the other side will now involve four pedestrian crosses.

“If there are many delays then people, especially children, will try and find gaps in the traffic. It’s children I’m most concerned about. If they are rushing to school and the waiting times are too long they will try and find the gaps.”

Mr Barber said the £5.5 million scheme at Junction 18 of the A47/A15 roundabout prioritises motorists over cyclists and pedestrians.

Residents at the Salvation Army Citadel see the plans

Residents at the Salvation Army Citadel see the plans

Council cabinet member Cllr Peter Hiller said Rhubarb Bridge had come to “the end of its life.” He added that the new scheme will improve traffic flow and accessibility for all users.

However, Labour group leader Cllr Ed Murphy said he will be urging members of a council scrutiny committee to call-in the decision to progress the scheme due to a lack of consultation and because “alternatives have not been explored.”

Liberal Democrat group Cllr Nick Sandford also hit out at the council for not consulting earlier.

The plans were unveiled to the public yesterday at the Salvation Army Citadel in Bourges Boulevard, with people queuing to get in. The final plans will be revealed in September and works will begin this financial year.

Sustrans cyclists protesting against the  proposed removal of Rhubarb Bridge, Lincoln Road EMN-170702-090952009

Sustrans cyclists protesting against the proposed removal of Rhubarb Bridge, Lincoln Road EMN-170702-090952009

Liberal Democrat city councillor Darren Fower questioned why the council is not doing more to reduce the reliance on cars.

A council spokesman said safety and accessibility are “paramount considerations” with concerns answered during meetings with key stakeholders and the public.

New bridge would ‘cost up to £30m’ says council planning chief

The cost to replace Rhubarb Bridge with another bridge would cost between £20 million and £30 million, according to a report by Peterborough City Council.

Rhubarb Bridge

Rhubarb Bridge

Moreover, cabinet member responsible for growth, planning services, housing and economic development, Cllr Peter Hiller, said: “We know some residents have stated that they were keen to see a replacement network of bridges however this could cost up to £30 million and we don’t have that level of funding available.”

However, this figure has been labelled as “totally exaggerated” by Labour’s council group leader Cllr Ed Murphy, who believes it would cost £6 million instead. The cash-strapped council has previously said that building a foot and cycle bridge between Fletton Quays and the Embankment would cost around £3 million.

For more on the plans, visit the city council’s website.
Related:
Petition to save Rhubarb Bridge hits 1,800 signatures in half a day, 10 August.