Annual Parish Meeting talk on the Cookham Bridge - 29/03/2000|
Mr Stephen Brown, Engineering Services Manager at the Royal Borough attended the Annual Parish Meeting at Cookham Rise School to talk about the repairs to Cookham Bridge.
Mr Brown described the reasons that the bridge needed to be repaired and the choices that could have been made including doing nothing, which would have meant that the bridge would eventually not have been useable, also building a new bridge, which would have not only have been too costly, but also would not have been acceptable to English Heritage, as the bridge is Grade II listed. The final alternative was to repair the current one. He said that there had been some slippage due to things that had been uncovered that were not known when the work started, so the current plan was to re-open the bridge on 20 June 2000.
Mr Alan Swinger of Mowlem, the contractors, then spoke. He said that they had been brought in November 1999 and it had been a fast track programme. The contract had been that the contractors were paid costs plus a fee, as the design could not be finalised due to the particular problems of the bridge and not knowing exactly what needed to be done until work had started. He said that the project would take about six months, because of the problems of accommodating design needs and should open on the 20th June 2000. He said that it had been a very pleasant project as it was non adversarial and everyone had worked well together as a team.
There then followed a series of questions from the floor: Cllr Pat Brockwell asked if there would be permanent traffic light and why was this decision made. Mr Brown replied there would be and the decision had been made after consultation with the public and various bodies, including the Parish Council. They had received eight hundred replies from adverts in the papers and leaflets being handed out and overall the idea of traffic lights were favoured. He added that the signals would be purpose designed.
Mr Brown was asked why the delay had occurred. He said that work had been uncovered that had not been expected, but now everything needing to be done was clear and there would be overtime to catch up. He added that the gas main that was bolted to the bridge could now be incorporated in the bridge, after consultation with Transco, which would improve matters.
Joan Somerville asked if the bridge had to be completely finished before traffic was allowed on it. Mr Brown said it would have to be, particularly as the casting of the deck would be one of the last things to be done.
Cllr Gordon Harris asked if there would be a kerb or barrier on the footpath. Mr Brown said there would be a kerb and the path itself would be 5' 6" wide. Cllr Dick Arthur asked if the cyclists could also use the pedestrian pathway. Mr Brown said that it was not really wide enough, but that the bridge should be much improved for cyclists anyway.
Mr John Bowley asked about access to the Ferry under the bridge. Mr Brown said that they were very much hoping to get this. Mr Brown added that he very much hoped that the bridge would be ready on time and they were doing everything in their power to catch up on the slippage, but that the 20th June was the current date planned for re-opening the bridge.