March 8 2014 Latest news:
By Matthew Gooding
Thursday, February 20, 2014
A dangerous level crossing could close permanently after a feasibility study recommended replacement options.
Network Rail has released the results of its feasibility study into different options for the crossing, on the A10 at Foxton, and says the crossing should be closed permanently and replaced by a road bridge, which would cost an estimated £11.65m to build.
In addition, a footbridge with lift access would be constructed for pedestrians and cyclists, at an estimated cost of £2.3m.
An alternative would be the construction of an underpass, which would take the A10 below the railway line. The work could also involve re-routing the A10 slightly, so it passes to the west of the current crossing site.
The report states: “This is the shortest of all the routes which has an advantage of minimum land acquisition and improves site safety by limiting the construction period. This route offers a minimum structure span over the new level crossing, thus minimising the disruption to rail movement and impact on the local community.”
Deborah Roberts, district councillor for Foxton and chairman of Fowlmere Parish Council, said: “The crossing has been problematic for many years due to the amount of people trying to run the lights and beat the barriers. There have been crashes, people have been filmed and taken to court, but still it continues.
“The biggest concern is there could be a potential derailment of a train, which would be a horrific situation.
“I think there is a frustration because there are so many trains in the hour, and you can almost guarantee that when you come to the level crossing that the lights will be flashing. This then causes a huge backlog of drivers getting more frustrated and in turn they are willing to take more risks. But it is a frustration that could kill someone.
“I think the plans to close the level crossing have to be welcomed, but they also have to be taken with caution as it would have wide implications for surrounding villages.
“I have had residents of Barrington Road expressing concerns about the visual aspect of two bridges going over the railway line. But there needs to be more of an input from the surrounding villages such as Shepreth, Meldreth, Fowlmere and Barrington, as a lot of people have no idea about the plans.”
A local project board, including Network Rail, Cambridgeshire County Council, Foxton Parish Council, Sustrans and the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group, will convene for the first time in early spring to discuss the proposals.
Network Rail is moving on to the third stage of the process, in which it will look in more detail at the options, how they can be delivered, and their costs and impacts.
Last year, Foxton level crossing was named in the top 10 in the country when it comes to drivers taking risks.