Just an­other bridge too far... or is it?

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - YOUR VIEWS - >Mark Ed­wards >@PT Mark Ed­wards

The city coun­cil’s port­fo­lio holder for plan­ning Peter Hiller says that the cost of a ‘net­work’ of bridges to re­place Rhubarb Bridge in the city will cost up to £30m... a big sum com­pared to the ball­park £5m it will cost to in­stall a se­ries of cross­ings and road im­prove­ments when the old bridge is taken down. How­ever it seems Labour chief Ed Mur­phy puts the re­place­ment bridge fig­ure at closer to £6m. When the PT looked at the cost of some re­cent, and prob­a­bly, larger bridge projects , cer­tainly £30m looked a pretty gen­er­ous bud­get for bridg­ing a busy road in Peter­bor­ough. How­ever, we also have to ac­knowl­edge that the pub­lic purse is bru­tally stretched and the cheap­est op­tion of­ten looks the best when the lo­cal gov­ern­ment cal­cu­la­tors come out. The new cross­ing net­work might be a ma­jor project but it is still a back­ward step from what cur­rently ex­ists. How­ever, our new­est tier of lo­cal gov­ern­ment - the com­bined Cam­bridgeshire and Peter­bor­ough author­ity un­der elected mayor James Palmer, has not ruled out rid­ing to the res­cue of Rhubarb Bridge and pos­si­bly even a bridge over the Nene at Flet­ton Quays - the sub­ject of a PT cam­paign and great pub­lic sup­port. That author­ity has im­proved hous­ing pro­vi­sion and trans­port links at the top of its shop­ping list. Peter­bor­ough is - in our view - of­ten short-changed/for­got­ten when it comes to re­gional in­vest­ment. Re­plac­ing Rhubarb Bridge might be a bridge to far for the city coun­cil’s bud­get but it would be a sig­nif­i­cant state­ment if the com­bined author­ity could find the cash to keep pedes­tri­ans and cy­clists and traf­fic flow­ing freely at this hugely busy Peter­bor­ough traf­fic pinch­point.

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