Weak Berkeley Rail Bridges miss out on funding once more
BERKELEY Rail Bridges have missed out on coveted funding while three other projects in the region get the go-ahead instead.
The Gloucestershire Local Transport Board (GLTB) has announced its re-distribution of £3.3 million of central government funding.
At a meeting on Wednesday, April 9 the board decided to share the fund equally between three schemes – corridor improvements in Abbeymead, Cheltenham Spa railway station and the Gloucester Central Transport Hub.
After the Department for Transport allocated almost £10 million to the GLTB, three schemes were picked out of 14 last July.
When one of them – the Cheltenham Spa Station scheme – was withdrawn, it put a little over £3 million back on the table to be reassigned. Regeneration work at the weak Berkeley Rail Bridges did not make the cut.
The Berkeley project was estimated to cost between £2 and £5 million.
A 30mph speed limit has been imposed on the bridge carrying northbound traffic towards Gloucester since October.
Traffic is required to slow down on the busy section of the A38 over the bridge which has been found to be weak although not in immediate risk of failure.
The weakness was first flagged up by Gloucestershire Highways in early 2012 and the speed restriction aims to reduce the load on the structure until the bridge is replaced.
Gloucestershire County Council have given no indication of time scale as regards the bridge replacement aside from saying the speed reduction is a temporary measure.
Chairman of the GLTB Cllr Vernon Smith said the three schemes were outstanding projects.
He said: “They will make a real difference to Gloucestershire, reducing journey times and improving local transport, helping to support and protect local jobs.
“It was a very difficult decision for the board to make and I wish we had more money available to distribute to the excellent schemes which had been put forward to the board for consideration.”
A county council spokesman said the condition of the bridges was being monitored while further funding was sought.
The spokesman said: "As with any other project, the bridge replacement will be funded from the normal structural maintenance pot, but we will continue to look for other sources of funding.
"The 30mph limit seems to be being observed, but in the meantime we will continue to monitor the condition of the bridge."
For more information about the GLTB visit www.gltb.org.uk
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