Claims of lack of transparency over Rhubarb Bridge report

Rhubarb Bridge
Rhubarb Bridge
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Replacing Rhubarb Bridge with road crossings is less safe for pedestrians and cyclists, according to a report.

Peterborough City Council has been accused of a lack of transparency after the report was revealed following a Freedom of Information request.

The council has proposed to replace the bridge with a series of road crossings at Junction 18 of the A47/A15 roundabout, with extra lanes for motorists, but this has been put on hold after the scheme was heavily criticised.

Labour councillor Richard Ferris said: “I think a lot of the problems that have come around Rhubarb Bridge have come because there’s not full transparency. They should have been more honest - they were not lying but were economical with the truth.

However, Cllr Peter Hiller, cabinet member responsible for the scheme to replace Rhubarb, responded: “Nobody is trying to hide things. There’s no conspiracy here.

“Any sensible person would assume going over a pedestrian and cycling bridge is going to be less safe than crossing a road. Crossings are not dangerous. They are as dangerous as the person using them.”

The report was published by Skanska in February this year. The council has insisted that a replacement bridge for Rhubarb would cost between £20 million and £30 million.

Matt Barber, head of partnerships (Midlands and East) at sustainable transport charity Sustrans, said: “The current structure is fully segregated, meaning there is no potential for conflict between pedestrians, cyclists and motor vehicles.

“Our position remains that an at-grade scheme in its current guise is unacceptable for pedestrians and cyclists.”

Liberal Democrat group leader Cllr Nick Sandford said: “I’m concerned as to why the information was withheld and I will make enquiries.”

A council spokeswoman said: “Technical assessments are not normally issued publicly as a matter of course, but are available through requests.”

She added: “Signalised crossings are nationally recognised safe methods for pedestrians and cyclists to cross a road. There is a slight increase in risk versus being completely segregated in the form of a bridge and that is what the report was highlighting.”