A27 footbridge to be built by July

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WORK on building a new footbridge over the A27 will start next month and should be completed by July.

The Highways Agency revealed its plans for the crossing just to the west of the Whyke roundabout at a public exhibition 
on Tuesday.

C141572-2 HI A27 Footbridge phot kate'Designer, Alistair Oliver chatting to resident Becky Edwards about the new footbridge.Picture by Kate Shemilt.C141572-2 SUS-150120-172720001

C141572-2 HI A27 Footbridge phot kate'Designer, Alistair Oliver chatting to resident Becky Edwards about the new footbridge.Picture by Kate Shemilt.C141572-2 SUS-150120-172720001

“A survey has found that about 80 people a day are crossing there by foot and 60 a day are crossing by bike,” said Peter Phillips, asset manager for West Sussex.

“Another 60 to 70 are cycling around the roundabout so it shows a lot of pedestrian usage. On top of that, you have Chichester Free School soon moving nearby so a great deal of people will benefit from it.”

The new design is more subtle than the one proposed in 2010 which received criticism over its appearance.

People will be able to use the bridge on foot or on their bikes, and it has also been specially designed to be wheelchair-friendly.

Three people were killed trying to cross the busy stretch of the city’s bypass in the same year in 2003.

It prompted plans for the footbridge to return to the agenda, but a number of delays have stalled it until now.

Tony Davis, framework manager, said: “We’ve had lots of positive reaction from residents, which is great. Work will start next month and should be completed by July.

“Projects like this are always multi-million, but it will provide safe crossing, as well as better access for the local community.”

Chichester Free School plans to move to the nearby Carmelite Convent site in September and last week principle Guy Martin spoke in support of the scheme.

And the reaction from the public exhibition at Guide Hall, Whyke Lane was mostly positive.

Gordon Ansell, Whyke Close, said: “I’m in favour. You take your life in your hands when you cross currently so it will be much safer.”

John Templeton agreed, saying it was an improvement on the previous design, though Melvyn Dugan, Whyke Close, questioned the need for the new footbridge.