New Eastern Villages transport infrastructure
New South Marston cycle/footbridge
As part of the Great Western Railway electrification project, Network Rail proposes to close two existing footpath crossings of the main railway line near to the village of South Marston - Public Footpaths 5 and 6.
Network Rail initially proposed to replace these crossings with a single footbridge, to be located at the FP5 crossing point. To facilitate this change, Network Rail also proposed to close the section of FP6 between the railway and the A420, and to create a new public footpath alongside the northern side of the railway to carry FP6 to the new bridge.
The original bridge proposal was designed to a public footpath standard, with a two metre wide bridge deck and stepped access. This reflected the status of the existing footpaths, which are essentially used by recreational walkers only.
Whilst the current setting for the proposed bridge is rural in nature, the land to the north of the railway line forms part of the New Eastern Villages development, with around 2,000 new houses planned over the next decade.
The bridge would form a key route for pedestrians and cyclists passing from the northern part of the NEV development to the bulk of the site to the south of the A420. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the new bridge is designed and built to a suitable standard to accommodate pedestrian and cycle traffic passing between the different areas of the NEV development. This is particularly important as the southern areas of the development will contain the bulk of the community facilities, including health, employment and education facilities.
Accordingly, to accommodate the demand anticipated from the NEV development, Swindon Borough Council has worked with Network Rail to deliver a 3 metre wide bridge, with provision for lighting and future ramped access to facilitate easier cycle use and to comply with mobility and accessibility standards required under the Equalities Act 2010.
Swindon Borough Council is currently working with Atkins to develop ramp designs which can be constructed in due course.
The new bridge should be open to pedestrians in February 2018.