Fishbourne footbridge makes steady progress

The latest stage of the new bridge at the Fishbourne foot crossing
The latest stage of the new bridge at the Fishbourne foot crossing

THE NEW Fishbourne bridge has been lifted into place, as a long-running campaign’s goal is finally realised.

The bridge, which is on course to be open to the public in August, will mean the end to a pedestrian crossing across the railway line which has been the site of three fatalities in recent years.

A spokesman for Network Rail said: “Work on the footbridge is progressing well and it’s due to open to the public, providing step-free access across the railway, in August.

“This location has a history of misuse and the bridge will provide a safe way to cross the tracks for the thousands of people who use the existing footpath crossing every year.”

The new bridge, which has a long ramp to make it suitable for disabled access, links Fishbourne Road East and Westgate.

In recent years there have been a number of incidents at the crossing, including three fatalities, 22 near misses with trains, nine reports of misuse and 18 acts of vandalism.

Network Rail submitted the planning application for the bridge last year and permission was granted in January this year.

At meetings to discuss the bridge, opinion was split among residents, with some objecting to the bridge’s design.

The current arrangement sees people crossing the railway line on foot via a gate with a siren which warns when a train is approaching.

In the planning application, it was estimated around 3,119 people crossed the line every day, many of whom were schoolchildren attending nearby Bishop Luffa School.