Peterborough council guilty of Rhubarb Bridge failings - LETTER

That was a really good feature in last week’s PT (Report says fatalities likely if Rhubarb Bridge is demolished).

Saturday, 11th January 2020, 5:00 am
Traffic during the roadworks at Rhubarb Bridge

But we must go back to the 6 bridge beams and their condition: at a PCC presentation of its footpath crossings held in 2017, the only reason for removing the beams given by their structural engineer was suspicion that the beams were presumed to be weakened in the same manner as the concrete piers supporting them. As PCC believed there was no way of verifying their integrity, they had to be removed.

For the record, when precast pre-stressed beams are made, the cable tendons threaded through ducts the length of the beams are jacked to the required tensile force and then the ducts pumped full of grout leaving no possibility of tendon corrosion. The only other worry would be steel bar reinforcement corrosion due to salt spray, as has repeatedly attacked the supporting piers, but the beams show none as they are above the zone of salt spray. There are ways of checking this by specialists in this field; I contacted one and invited John Holdich to contact them but no one in PCC did.

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So PCC blindly proceeded with their plan to remove them at some massive cost without considering the easy option of having new ones made, brought to site and swapping them with existing.

Councillor Hillier exposed his blatant ignorance by claiming that introducing NMU light phasing “would improve traffic flow” and sought to compare Bridge St crossing’s safety record with Rhubarb’s Spaghetti Junction layout: I would draw his attention to an accident in 2018 when a car crashed onto the central island where there is to be a crossing.

It is pathetic that what is justifiably the most admirable example of vehicle-NMU separation achieved by Peterborough Development Corp is being transformed into a primitive £5m arena bringing combatants together with guidance of totally inept governance.

There is also the important issue of safety: at the moment people have no access to the roadways comprising this junction and to reach destinations beyond its perimeter must use the bridge system which prevents doing so.

The result of removing the 6 bridges is to FORCE exposure to risk of vehicle injury and to an atmosphere of toxic exhaust gases. It might become possible to raise a legal issue whereby PCC are criminally negligent and ultimately responsible for any harm sustained.

Perhaps our MP Paul Bristow should be brought into this.

Ian Hart

Lincoln Road,

Peterborough