Berkeley railway bridges on A38 require regeneration work or one lane could close in five years time
ONE lane of the A38 over the Berkeley railway bridges could close to traffic in five years time if it is not chosen for vital regeneration work.
The Berkeley rail bridges are one of eight schemes Gloucestershire County Council’s cabinet is submitting to the new Gloucestershire Local Transport Body (GLTB), set up oversee major scheme transport funding in local areas.
One of the proposals would see significant investment in the pair of bridges on the A38, next to the Prince of Wales hotel.
Berkeley Rail New Bridge, which carries northbound traffic, needs to be replaced before 2019.
The southbound bridge, Berkeley Rail Old Bridge, is of a more durable design and just needs to be strengthened and refurbished.
The bridges, which pass over the Bristol-Birmingham railway line, receive heavy traffic as a major alternative route to the M5.
And the proposals indicate the importance of the work, stating that if nothing was done, within five to ten years the New Bridge would have to close to traffic, requiring vehicles to be diverted, via traffic lights, onto the Old Bridge in stages.
Work is currently estimated to cost £2-5 million.
It is unlikely all schemes will get funding, as the Department of Transport has indicated that the GLTB would have funding ranging from £10 to £20 million to invest over four years from April 2015.
The Berkeley bridges will be competing with seven other transport schemes proposed by the county council, such as corridor improvements on the A419 from Stroud to the M5, as well as transport schemes proposed by other organisations.
Cllr Chas Fellows, cabinet member for planning, economy and environment, said: "Implementing these schemes would make a real difference to people living and working in the county and to the county’s future economic growth, by reducing journey times or improving public transport."
Amanda Lawson-Smith, principal transport planning officer at Gloucestershire County Council said: "On 21 March the Gloucestershire Local Transport Body will agree the list of eligible schemes that should be taken forward to the prioritisation phase, and in July a shorter prioritised list will be submitted to government."
The first meeting of the GLTB is on Thursday, March 21 from 9.30am to 12pm at Shire Hall, Gloucester. Anyone is welcome to attend the meeting as an observer and those wanting to come should e-mail email@example.com or telephone 01452 426793 to confirm your attendance.