People in Burton are being asked to have their say on when the work should start on the second bridge into the town.
Staffordshire County Council successfully bid for Government funding to safeguard both St Peter’s Bridge and Burton Bridge – without which St Peter’s Bridge would close for good, crippling the town.
Although a condition of the funding is that the scheme was completed in this financial year, the county council has now won permission from the Department for Transport to postpone the start of the improvements on the second phase until the summer – if this is what the people and businesses of Burton want.
Philip Atkins, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, said: “Although everyone understands that this work absolutely has to be carried out to safeguard the future use of both bridges, we recognise the inevitable disruption the necessary closure has brought to the town, especially at peak times.
“We have listened to these concerns and want to do everything we can to mitigate the impact of these crucial scheme on residents and businesses in particular.
“We believe that the closure of two major gateways in succession is an exceptional case and we have managed to secure the option to start the work in the summer rather than the New Year, without risking losing the funding.
“If this is what people want, this is what we will do, but we want the people of Burton to make that choice.”
The successful Highways Challenge Fund bid was announced in August and required work to begin immediately on St Peter’s Bridge – or risk losing the funding and a future ban on HGVs and buses, before it would need to close for good.
The scope of the complex engineering project means the bridge needs to closed for three months, although the county council is looking at every opportunity to bring forward the works if at all possible.
The county council has also introduced free on-street parking at the request of businesses, worked with the bus operators to ensure bus journeys can still be made during the works and is planning to hold a business event to promote the town before Christmas – which it welcomes interested people to become involved with.
Philip added: “The length of time necessary closure of St Peter’s is unfortunately dictated purely by the nature of the project, although like everyone we want to see it open as soon as possible.
“We would like to thank the people of Burton for their continued patience and also ask that people continue to support the town and its businesses during the project.”
The detailed work to safeguard Burton Bridge is expected to last two months. Access for cyclists and pedestrians would be maintained.
People can find out more about the scheme and sign up for news updates at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/burtonbridges. Please have your say whether the work planned for Burton Bridge in the New Year or summer by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org