Castle Street in Hull could get a new bridge years before the road is upgraded
By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 15 Sep 2017
A permanent footbridge over Castle Street could be in place before work finally starts on a much-delayed scheme to upgrade Hull's busiest road.
Last month it was revealed the long-awaited £250m facelift at the Mytongate junction was unlikely to get underway until 2020 at the earliest - two years later than previously proposed.
The news cast further doubts over when the planned pedestrian bridge linking Princes Quay with the Marina would happen. Until recently, the construction of the bridge was expected to be part of the main scheme.
The latest delay also prompted speculation about a temporary bridge being installed as an interim measure.
But Hull West and Hessle MP Emma Hardy said Highways England, which is responsible for the route, was now examining a "safety case" for bringing the bridge works forward.
After meeting with officials from Highways England earlier this week, she said recent traffic issues caused by large numbers of pedestrians crossing Castle Street to attend events near the city's waterfront had underlined the need for a bridge sooner rather than later.
She said: "Highways England reported that their officers had met with Hull City Council who would prefer to bring building a permanent bridge forward.
"This is because planning is already approved for a permanent bridge and extra time would be needed to secure planning for a temporary bridge."
Ms Hardy said another incentive for an early start on the approved bridge design would release £4m-worth of funding from the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership earmarked for the crossing.
"Bringing forward the building of the permanent bridge would have implications on the cost of the overall project and Highways England would need to ensure that building it early would not impact on the Castle Street project.
"During busy events the impact of the crossing on traffic, and the increased risk to pedestrian safety, concern me greatly.
"If we can’t have the Castle Street project brought forward then my priority is to secure the construction of a bridge, whether temporary or permanent, as soon as possible.
"I will continue to press Highways England until this issue is resolved and there is a suitable resolution."
BUSY: The pedestrian crossing in Castle Street during the recent Freedom Festival (Image: Tony Rignall)
In a recent letter sent to the city council, Highways England's Castle Street project manager Jimmy Holmes said: "We are looking in detail at the most efficient and cost-effective way to carry out the phases of the various construction elements of the scheme which will include the construction of the Princes Quay bridge.
"A final decision on timings and the phasing of construction will be made once we submit the development consent order for the scheme.
"We also plan to hold a number of public events later this year to keep the public informed on the progress of works related to this scheme, in addition to updates with the Garrison Road roundabout improvement works."
City councillors remain frustrated over the saga.
Speaking at a scrutiny meeting, Councillor Diana Hatcher said: "We are all absolutely fed up with this. All we want to know is a start date."
Councillor Denise Thompson sad: "We need clarification and we need a start date as soon as possible."
Highways England officials are expected to attend a council scrutiny meeting next month to give a verbal update on issues surrounding the improvement scheme.
Ms Hardy is also due to meet them again next month for a briefing on the bridge options.