Lincoln High Street footbridge proposals submitted to council

Plans to build a footbridge over the High Street level crossing have been submitted to the City of Lincoln Council.

The plans by Network Rail will allow pedestrians and cyclists to get past the level crossing without long waits.

The plans are part of a bigger scheme in the city by the rail company to reduce waiting times and stop the dangerous use of the crossings on High Street and Brayford Wharf East, as the barriers are expected to stay closed for longer times in the coming years.

The pedestrian footbridge over the level crossing proposal, viewed from the lower High Street.

The pedestrian footbridge over the level crossing proposal, viewed from the lower High Street.

For the High Street proposals, engineers consulted transport experts, planners and English Heritage to develop the design.

Network Rail will buy 179 High Street, currently housing Sleep Shop and Superdrug, and refurbish the building to accommodate the bridge, steps, large lifts and a gully for bikes.

If planning permission is secured in January 2014, Network Rail will begin design work to enable the implementation work to start immediately after 179 High Street has been purchased and the bridge at Brayford Wharf East is commissioned.

The anticipated start date on site is September 2014.

The footbridge would help reduce crowds waiting at the High Street level crossing in Lincoln.

The footbridge would help reduce crowds waiting at the High Street level crossing in Lincoln.

Network Rail Route Managing Director Phil Verster said: “The High Street level crossing in Lincoln remains our worst level crossing for instances of misuse.

“These range from people running across after the warnings have started to thoroughly reckless acts such as lifting or climbing over the barriers once they are down. In such circumstances the signaller has no way to stop an oncoming train.

“We understand that a lot of misuse is driven by frustration at having to wait at the barriers.

“The level crossings at High Street and Brayford Wharf East, which sees similar issues, are already of the highest possible safety design. From our discussions with highways experts we know it is not possible to close the crossings at this time.

“Therefore we have employed renowned architects to develop designs which give access over the railway for all pedestrians who need to use it but are also in keeping with their surroundings.

“The design for High Street has taken longer than the Brayford site because of the complexity of the site.

“We believe the designs we have submitted for approval offer the best possible solution for the long standing issues raised by High Street level crossing.”

The Brayford Wharf East plans have already been submitted and approved by the council, with work expected to begin next year, which would lead to a six-month closure of the road.

The new Brayford level crossing bridge designs from Network Rail, by Stem Architects

The new Brayford level crossing bridge designs from Network Rail, by Stem Architects

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney said: “I am very pleased that Network Rail have finally submitted plans for a new footbridge over Lincoln High Street’s level crossing.

“It has at times been a fraught relationship between ourselves, but the High Street remains open and accessible at ground level, and for that I am sure all my constituents and businesses on and around the High Street are grateful.

“At this week’s Transport Select Committee, I made the case for all level crossings in Lincoln to be improved to mitigate safety issues as they become busier due to the increase in freight traffic that will use the rail lines in our city, with no benefit to the people of Lincoln or the surrounding areas.

“I also had the opportunity to ask questions of Mr Ian Prosser, the Director of Railway Safety and HM Chief Inspector of Railways at the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) in respect of why Lincoln had to wait over 30 years for a footbridge to be re-instated on the High Street.

“As the Member of Parliament for our city, such a situation was wholly unacceptable to me, but I am proud that, with assistance from Lincolnshire County Council and more recently appointed Network Rail Senior Directors, I have made real positive progress on this issue at the two most at risk level crossings in the centre of my constituency.”