Taken from Rye News 27/5/2016
Network Rail to close crossings?
BY KENNETH BIRD
Proposals for the closure of the two pedestrian rail crossings at Mill Bridge have been published by Network Rail. A feasibility study proposes various options, including the construction of a footbridge over the track or a tunnel underneath.
A site meeting will be held for informal discussions on June 2 between Network Rail, Rother District Council , East Sussex County Council Rights of Way and Rye Town Council representatives, Cllrs Michael Boyd and Pat Hughes. Marsh Link Action Group chairman Stuart Harland will also be present. The normal public consultation may be expected to follow.
The 78 page document, prepared by Kier Group consultants, puts forward two preferred options taking into consideration all aspects such as safety, construction, maintenance, environmental and cost.
Option 1 comprises two bunded walkways beneath the existing rail bridge. The northern walkway would be ground bearing on the existing shallow sloped river bank while the southern walkway would be cantilevered from the southern abutment of the existing rail bridge.
Option 2 comprises a bunded walkway beneath the existing rail bridge and a river crossing footbridge to link the footpaths on the upstream side of the existing rail bridge. The walkway would be ground bearing on the existing shallow sloped river bank with provision of a footbridge approximately 20m upstream.
Both Options 1 and 2 would enable the closure of both level crossings whilst minimising the impact to the users of the existing footpaths on both sides of the river.
Town Clerk, Richard Farhall, said that “the Town Council is keen for a link with Gibbet Marsh to be maintained”. Stuart Harland commented that a bridge solution would require a massive construction and be very unsightly. The new access will need to be wide enough to enable wheelchair traffic.
The feasibility study has been commissioned as part of Network Rail’s nation-wide policy to get rid of pedestrian rail crossings. The motivation is Health and Safety generally, rather than a localised response to the several tragic incidents of suicide which have occurred at this location.
The report only deals with the Mill Bridge site, so a similar study will presumably have to be made in due course in respect of the pedestrian crossing across the rail track from the Cricket Salts to North Salts on the other side of town.