Note of meeting - West Cheshire Together
The meeting opened with a welcome and introduction by Cllrs Andrew Dawson and Lynn Riley. This is the first meeting of its kind and very well attended. The meeting is an opportunity for genuine conversation regarding the plans which are 9 months away. Key points made were: The refurbishment to the bridge has been a long awaited and much needed project and will improve access to Frodsham and the surrounding area once completed as well as giving the approach a better outlook. It has taken some considerable discussion and negotiation; given the difficult financial situation everyone faces, to reach this positive outcome where the funding is now in place to undertake the work. There is a genuine willingness to work with the community to look at all options available to try and reduce the impact of traffic disruption on Frodsham and the surrounding area and to work with businesses to offer any additional support that they may benefit from. George Ballinger, Head of Engineering at the Canal and River Trust (formally British waterways) talked about the need for the bridge work and how the project is progressing. Key Points made were: The Canal Trust were pleased that funding was now in place to refurbish the bridge. The work to be completed would include strengthening to legal standards, a new road surface, cleaning and repainting of iron work and painting. The project had to manage live traffic with the potential of using traffic control and a one lane system while work was undertaken. The Framework Contractor had been put out to tender and May Gurney had been appointed. The Canal Trust must adhere to EU procurement rules when tendering for this work. May Gurney will tender for the specific parts of the contract and again this must comply with EU procurement rules. The Canal Trust are keen to engage with local people to look at options that may reduce the disruption to traffic. They are currently looking at the potential use of a temporary two lane bridge to the side of the Swing Bridge. The cost of this is estimated to be around £700,000 however, some of this would be off- set by savings made in the reduction of time in which the bridge could be refurbished. The Canal Trust would continue to pursue this option and aim to complete the feasibility of this option in the next 8 weeks. There is currently no guarantee that this option will be viable. The project will take between 10 and 12 months dependant on the above.
Chris Hindle, Head of Planning and Transport at Cheshire West and Chester Council talked about managing the likely traffic disruption and impact on the local area. Key Points made were: CWAC are investing a considerable proportion of its capital budget for this financial year in this project, around £3.5 million and it is good news that an agreement has been reached with the Canal Trust to undertake the refurbishment to the bridge. There will not be total closure of the bridge but there could be single lane traffic with traffic management in place. This would consist of manual traffic management during the first week and following this at peak times; as this is proved to be more effective, and traffic signals during normal traffic flow. If the bridge were to go to single lane traffic the potential delay should be no more than 20 minutes at peak times. Cllr Dawson asked if further information could be made available on potential traffic disruption at the next meeting. There is a recognition that emergency plans need to be reviewed and adjusted for this period. In cases where the M56 experiences accident/closure and where all blue light services are concerned. This was already in hand and was confirmed by Chris Burnham, Cheshire Police and Cllr Lynn Riley. Chris Capes, Regeneration and Economic Development Programme Manager for Cheshire West and Chester Council talked about the support that can be offered to businesses. For further information please go to our website: http://www.talkingwestcheshire.org/default.aspx?page=4275 Useful Contacts: Cheshire West and Chester Council Tel: 0300 1238123 www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk Canal and River Trust www.canalrivertrust.org.uk Tel: 0303 040 4040 Frodsham Foundation www.frodshamfoundation.net Kate Dodgson: 07970 798247 Kate.firstname.lastname@example.org