Here is Network Rail’s response to some of the questions raised by the recent bridge consultation:
Thank you for your email and for providing us with meeting dates, I have shared these with the wider team and will get back to you with availability as soon as I can.
We have so far received a fantastic response rate from the community vote, and while we appreciate some residents in the area are disappointed at not being able to retain the current footbridge, overall the response to this initiative has been overwhelmingly positive. We have since extended the vote to encourage further engagement and the vote will now close on Friday 11th June.
For your reference, I have shared information below that supports some of questions that were raised by members of the community.
Community Option/Comparison to Stirling Station
Our teams were aware of the ‘Option D’ footbridge design that was shared by a member of the community, and while we are very appreciative of this engagement, the design unfortunately provides us with the same challenges around raising the height of the structure, an option that our project team and architects have explored in great detail.
The reasons for undertaking a bridge replacement at this location is that the bridge needs to be lifted in height to allow for electrification below it, and the sides of the bridge must have solid 1.8m high unclimbable parapets. Both these elements are safety related matters and therefore are not open to change or non-compliance. Due to the additional vertical loading from the proposed bridge modifications and the solid side increasing the wind load which would be applied to the bridge, substantial strengthening of the existing bridge would still be required, all of which would have significant impact on the visual appearance of the footbridge.
We appreciate there were some references in regards to the Stirling station project, although these bridge works are quite disparate. Stirling Station bridge was capable of accommodating the additional loading as a result of the 1.8m Perspex attached to the inside of the parapets, whereas the footbridge in Strathbungo cannot accommodate this loading without substantially strengthening the lattice work, and losing its main characteristic. The bridge in Stirling also sits within the A-listed station building and has a high footfall serving platforms 6 to 9, whereas the footbridge in Strathbungo is a C-listed structure, with a much lower footfall and doesn’t serve railway passengers.
Aside from the visual difference, altering the current footbridge with these changes is much more costly than a replacement. The bridge modifications could not be undertaken while the bridge remains in place from a safety point of view, therefore the bridge would need to be removed and taken away for such works to be undertaken. While the footbridge in Strathbungo encourages active travel amongst the community, it would not be a financially responsible decision to make these changes and raise the height of the current footbridge at this location. Although the most cost effective solution would be to remove the bridge entirely, we believed that this was not an appropriate solution in this instance due to local communities strong connection to this bridge, and as such took the novel and unusual step of creating multiple solutions and engaging with the local community to offer the opportunity to select their most preferred solution.
We appreciate that a bridge replacement is moving away from the Victorian style lattice structure which is there today, but sadly the existing structure is not fit for purpose in terms of the safety requirements for electrification.
In addition to the current footbridge not being the correct width for accessibility access, we are unable to provide the appropriate ramps for accessibility access due to several challenges. The bridge access on the East side leads directly onto the road at Moray Place which is not preferable for a proposed accessible bridge and the pavement widths also do not lend themselves as accessible approaches to the bridge itself. These issues associated with the road network and approaches are out with our control, and sit with the local authority.
There is a fully accessible alternative route over the railway on Nithsdale Road, approximately 50 metres away, and given the proximity of this alternate route, low footfall and this not providing access to station platforms, we are not obligated to consider an accessible solution for this structure. These factors, balanced with restricted space confirm that making this bridge fully accessible would not be considered an effective use of money. As these works form part of a larger tax payer funded decarbonisation scheme, we must demonstrate responsible and efficient use of public funding.
Please be assured that where possible and in line with regulations, we are progressing with many accessibility improvements along the route as part of this project.
I will be in touch shortly regarding the Zoom meeting, although please let me know if you have any further questions.